January 19 – Pattern of Three

of-three-strandsIn all God does, He weaves layers of meaning. That’s why studying how it all began on planet earth yields so much insight for daily living.

For instance, take the account of the day when God hung lights in the heavens. In my estimation, it is not coincidental that there are three elements of light; the greater light to rule the day, the lesser light to rule the night, and the stars.

Based on an underlying 3-in-1 theme that occurs throughout the Bible, I believe God is giving us a clue to building a sturdy foundation of bond and balance.

Think about the dynamics that constitute a family: dad, mom, and children. In the order God prescribes, the male (dad) comes before the female (mom) and the children are the result of their union.

However, each role is beautifully bonded by necessity. Neither is more important than the other, yet role-respect is key and vital to their overall success. That’s why it is a sad and sick strategy when modern culture strives to manipulate the delicate strands of this holy institution.

Blinded by selfish intelligence gone wild, the ignorant and in-charge often seek to make changes that would in essence eliminate life as God designed it. Thank God for divine intervention!

Today, look for the “pattern of three.” It may come in the form of three individuals seeking your help in same, yet different, ways.

It may be the same piece of news coming to you via three different people in three different locations. And it could even be something as simple as the eggs you whip for breakfast.

Whatever and whomever might be used to remind you, let it be just that; a reminder of how God braids, bonds, and balances life. For if He cares about the little details like “1-2-3,” surely, He can and will take care of you and me!

 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. Genesis 1:16-19 NKJV

 Biblical Meditation: Ecclesiastes 4:12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

 

January 7 – Good Words (Jenny)

boise_valley_wheat_fieldLet me start by saying I don’t get a special letter every day, but I thought these words from a recent note from my husband were worth sharing:   You are truly God’s gift to me. Some days, you are the gentle soft touch that tells me I am loved and cherished. And some days, you are the burr under the saddle that tells me to kick it in gear, it’s time to go! But whatever the day and whatever the message, there is no other place I’d rather be than here doing life with you. You are my wife,  you are my friend.

With encouragement like that, I could climb the highest mountain! Yay!!! Through the process of time, we have lived and learned just a little. There’s been some good, bad, some ‘ugly’ we’d rather forget. We have learned how far gentle words can go. (And make no mistake; a ‘sharp tongue’ has often helped us fall flat on our faces!) No matter what situation we encounter, the tone of voice we choose and the emotions we put to use can make or break each moment of the day.

 In the New Testament, James goes into much detail about the power of the tongue. He really goes into specifics concerning the results of a tongue that’s out of control. I love to see the flip-side of consciously putting our tongues to good use, though. If the product of rough and callous words is unfavorable, how great can the results be when our words are kind?

 I grew up on a cattle and wheat farm. Everything I watched my daddy do involved a complete trust in reaping what he had sown. Our words are like that. The principle of “sowing and reaping” WILL work…for me, for you, for all of us. If you don’t give up, you’ll start to see wonderful results…one “good word” at a time!

A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones. Proverbs 14:30 Message

 A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. Proverbs 15:1 Message

Biblical Meditation: James 3, Galatians 6:7-9

October 23- A Wise Father Knows Best

Genesis 18:24 So Moses heeded the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said.

Nothing delights the heart of a parent more than the advancement and success of their children. And the same holds true, in most cases, when it comes to the spouses of the children as well. Every caring parent longs to share any wisdom and insight they may have to increase the peace and prosperity of their children, by blood or by marriage.

Jethro is a wonderful example, in my estimation, of a father-in-law who was cognizant of the delicate balance of respect for the gifts and goals of a child and the responsibility of a parent to give guidance even when it might be hard to take. Moses spent the better part of forty years serving Jethro after he ran away from Egypt. During that time, he married Zipporah, one of Jethro’s daughters, and helped Jethro tend his land and flocks. Needless to say, the two had a lot of history together. So when the day came that God called Moses to leave his father-in-law, Jethro knew. And Jethro was as eager as anyone to see what God would do through the hands of his Moses. In the process of time, God did indeed deliver all of the Israelite people through Moses from the wicked Pharaoh. Later on, Jethro was invaluable in steering Moses to be wiser in his delegation of responsibility after he saw some of the cracks in the foundation of Moses’ great mission. He counseled Moses to appoint able men to share the management of the million-plus people. Jethro’s counsel was well-received by Moses, evidence of their close relationship over time and mutual respect for each other.

I feel that this sort of parent and sibling relationship is a great need today. How we need fathers who can speak wisdom and encouragement into the lives of their sons, by birth or by law. And how we need young men who choose to honor, respect, and covet the counsel of their elders. God’s divine fingerprints are all over the father and son, parent and child relationship. Wise is the one who heeds and receives.

Lorenzo

Biblical Meditation: Deuteronomy 5:16 Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

March 25 – Too Good To Be True

A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman—who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls. Proverbs 31:10

At this moment, I am looking for the right vehicle. I’d like it to have space enough to carry 5-7 people, equipped with the option of fold-down seats in the back for hauling “stuff”! And, of course, for the right price.

I have seen many that are close and some that are not even in the ballpark. But what I’m searching for is the one that finds me. The one that I couldn’t unearth in a million years. You may think I’m nuts. That’s ok.

This new-fangled approach is really not that new. Although most of us learned early on how to do the “hover and hustle” when it comes to getting something we want, the wise ones of old knew to do what you can do and then, hurry up and wait.

I can’t count the times I chased after something, only to watch it grow wings and fly away. Yet the moment I quit running after it, here it came, tackling me to the ground.

This basically describes what happened when I realized my wife for life was right before my eyes all along. I looked every place but the right place. And later on, after we’d been married awhile and we hit those “not so fun” times, I thankfully knew this union was not all my doing.  I knew this virtuous woman was a gift I could never afford and would never deserve.

Now the life I get to live with her and our precious family through the years often feels just too good to be true. Thankfully, God being in charge means it’s good, and true, indeed.

March 19 – Tap Out

Do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings. Proverbs 31:3 NIV

The term Mixed Martial Arts did not exist 25 years ago. But today, many around the world know those words to mean a skilled fighter in a varied assortment of ancient fighting disciplines.

And now days, there are sporting venues that pay guys and gals “skilled” in MMA big time dollars to showcase their talent. With the rise of the MMA movement, the words “tap out” have become infamous.

Stay with me, I’m going somewhere! “Tap out” is what a fighter is persuaded to do when they find themselves in a submission hold. Many times, their refusal to “tap out” could lead to them being rendered unconscious or severely injured. Sounds barbaric?

Here’s a thought instigated by a king’s mother striving to prepare him for the challenges he would face that might prove fatal: Don’t dissipate your virility on fortune-hunting women, promiscuous women who shipwreck leaders (MSG). So, in other words, tap outs have been around a very long time.

And don’t think for a minute it’s a one-sided affair. Just because this advice was to a son, many beautiful daughters’ hopes and dreams have been severely altered by a teenage tap out event.

Wisdom is wisdom. And no matter our age, these words still resonate. May the temptation of momentary pleasure not put an unsuspecting choke-hold on our otherwise fruitful lives and render us unconscious or tapped out!

January 19 – Straight as an Arrow, Sharp as a Tack

You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

I hate an argument. No, I am not proud of it, but I have been known to tuck tail and run right out of the room if I think people are fussing.

That’s not completely bad, but it doesn’t make for a stellar record in accomplishing greatness. That’s because all the big ticket items in life require different strokes from different folks!

My wife likes to call it “flags and flagpoles.” Particularly in the covenant of marriage, the good Lord tends to put “opposites” together.

I’ve learned when God’s got something big for you, he has someone specifically designed to sharpen you up for pin-point accuracy.

Did I say I hate an argument?! But I love the bullseye!

January 5 – I Beg To Differ

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE DUNFORD FAMILY!!! 🙂

Debate your case with your neighbor, and do not disclose the secret to another; Proverbs 25:9

Fussing is not my thing. When I hear the slightest voice inflection or I see the eye brows rise, instinctively, I start shutting down.

Because of such practices, I’ve been labeled “non-confrontational.” And honestly, I felt such a designation was honorable. Not so.

Childhood is a funny thing sometimes. You see things or you experience events that cause you to feel powerless, and they leave indelible marks on your mind’s pre-conditions. Somewhere, I perceived it was easier to avoid potential conflict than to deliberate amiably toward a possible solution.

Today, as the father of some of the most precious people on the planet, husband to an amazing woman, and friend and brother to a host of dear souls, I have to argue…the right way!

That doesn’t mean fussing. That means problem solving through a myriad of ideas and healthy debates. But that requires a set of skills most of us have to develop through experience. One of the most important skills you need is the art of “don’t take it personally.” To keep sight on the main thing, and that is the issue at hand, this is key and vital to a healthy argument.

And when you find yourself conversing and deliberating with someone who may not be as proficient in keeping their cool, don’t go blabbing it; this is not a good strategy for conflict-type conversations needed in the future. In time, if they know you care and you are not out to make them look bad or run over them, they will see you care and more than likely begin to decipher the thin line between destructive fussing and constructive argumentation.

This is perfect timing for a sound New Year’s resolution. And even though the art of arguing can be a tricky business. . . I am willing to learn!