Let the River Flow – What a Blessing!

(Excerpt from Shekinah Lane.)

You may now order Shekinah Lane on line.      

Lake Nottley - comes from a river!

Lake Nottley – comes from a river!

It had been a quiet morning reflecting on God’s goodness. I had just finished reading the devotional in My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers for September 6.

He compared our lives to a river and how out of us will flow the rivers that will bless to the uttermost parts of the earth. Commenting about how God has nourished us to bless others, he made this statement: “God rarely allows a soul to see how great a blessing he is.”

Smiling I thought, “Oh, but He did that for my husband John – not once but several times in the past few years.”

John retired from the preaching ministry in 2005. He has Parkinson ’s disease and his voice was so low he had trouble speaking. Serving churches was a part of his multi-faceted ministry. Counseling has always been his strong suit. Working with youth energized him.

A celebration of thirty-five years of ministry was planned. Many came from former churches he served, the college where he worked and also the youth facility Teen Ranch in Marlette, MI where he mentored. Memories flooded our minds and washed over our hearts as several shared what a blessing John’s life and ministry meant to them.

Laughter came in waves and tears streamed down our faces as they shared. Precious people who God allowed to splash in the river of living water flowing from John’s life.

Many more encounters with the flow of ministry have occurred for John in the past few years. Thank you Lord for the confirmation for John to see how great a blessing he has been and he is.

Let the river continue to flow.

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Family reunion

Recently – Still ministering………..

When picking up our book order for Shekinah Lane, I was privileged to see John still ministering.  I was signing the contract for the printing of the books and needed to ask John’s opinion on the order. He had just loaded the boxes of books in the car and came back into the office.

He came in as I was signing the papers, and spoke to the young lady helping me. “Congratulations on your baby.”

She just beamed and told John her due date, the baby was a boy and everything was progressing well. He told her he would be praying for her and the baby. She delighted in his interest in her.

Not me, I was all business as usual as I discussed the printing of the book and placing it on line.  Still smarting from my last encounter with a lady with a belly – when I asked her when her baby was due, she said, “He is sixteen months old.”  Ouch, I won’t do that again.

So typical of John and how he shows genuine concern for people and knows how to engage them in conversation.

Let the river continue to flow!

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John on pontoon boat

 

Do you think before you speak?

During a recent bout with laryngitis I was reminded of the number of words a woman uses daily versus the number a man uses. Louann Brizendine who wrote The Female Brain concluded that women use 20,000 words per day while men use 7,000. More recent studies do not agree with his findings. But in my house, it is so true.

Only able to whisper for four days was frustrating enough but when your husband is hard think.before.speakof hearing and especially cannot hear a whisper, it was double exasperation. I wrote him notes to communicate. At one point even resorted to charades to get him to “listen” to me.

When John returned from an appointment I was waiting for him to tell me what the doctor said. He conveniently handed me a hand written note from the doctor (she is female) telling me how she changed his medications.  Since I usually accompany him to visits she knew I would be interested in new information.

At lunch in a restaurant, I tried to get John to talk to me by motion with my fingers. He said, “I don’t have anything to talk about.” Do you see why I agree about the number of words a man speaks in a day? I could have talked all during lunch.

Thankfully during this quiet time, I was reminded of my recent commitment to “be positive in my attitude and speech toward my husband and family.” Since I had to either whisper, write a note or act out my desired communication, it gave me time to think instead of just react. Many times I just say what comes to my mind instead of filtering it through a desire to be positive and concerned how it will be accepted by the recipient.

Possibly my heavenly Father was helping me keep my commitment. Ok, Lord, help me think before I speak and please help me be able to converse above a whisper soon.

Psalms 19:14(KJV)

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

 Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

How to Temper Your Tone

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Was it necessary to speak to me in that tone?
“Not your wife, she is always so sweet,” my neighbor said.  My husband was teasing me about being difficult to please and demanding as our neighbor finished the installation of my new dishwasher.
 
I smiled as my neighbor left and wondered if my husband was thinking how his wife’s sweet words could turn sour at times.  Sad how we are so sweet to others and hurt the ones we love the most.  
On our way to the golf course the next morning my husband asked me to call someone for him as he drove.  Flustered with rushing to get ready, and trying to drink my breakfast shake, I blurted out, “Why do I have to do it now, can’t you wait until we get to town?”
 
He graciously responded, “Was it necessary to speak to me in that tone?”  What a wise man I have.  He could have fueled the fire by being as rude as I was.  But instead he spoke the truth in love.  And the truth hurts.  I’m so glad he loves me enough to confront me with my behavior.
 
Why is it so easy to temper our tone at work or at church and then allow our tone to turn sour at home and cause offense and hurt those closest to us.  Sometimes I think we get away with it and are not held accountable in a loving way by our spouse or whoever is in our home.  It takes someone being willing to tell us how we hurt them and suggest ways to improve our behavior.
 
My husband, a counselor by training, uses his skills and compassion with other family members as well.  It is never too late to confront. 
 
His mother (in her eighties) was very controlling and “ruled the roost” as the saying goes for many years.  His father (in his nineties) was a very kind, gracious man and allowed her to dominate him. 
 
His father was placed on antidepressant medication which made him aggressive. 
One day when she was sharp in talking to him, he replied gruffly and told her to leave him alone.  She was hurt and later told her counselor son “your father was so ugly to me today.” 
 
This gave my husband the opportunity to speak the truth in love to his mom.  No one ever talked to her about how unkind she was to her sweet man.  She struggled but submitted to allowing God to change her attitude and her words. 
 
Just a few months later, her last words as she collapsed in her son’s arms were, “Please let me go – I need to check on your father.”



 
I’m so thankful my husband did not wait to challenge me with my attitude and tone.   I pray God will help me to think before I speak.  Also may my words and attitude show my husband he is the most important person in my life, and I love him enough to allow him to confront me when I am unkind.


  •    Do we use a different tone when talking to our family than we use with clients,
    neighbors or friends?
  •    Are we quick to say hurtful things or be impatient with our loved ones?
  •    Are we willing to love enough to be confronted with our behavior and attitude?

 

Father please help us to be clothed with your compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience to the ones we love the most.
 
God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.

 

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson