Friday, May 23, 2014

A simple act of chivalry

My heart melted today when I observed a simple act of chivalry.

I walked out of Chick-fil-A behind an early 30-something couple who had met up for a quick lunch date. Heading toward her car in the parking lot, they held hands as the guy led the way. Upon arriving at the girl's car, he led her around to the driver's side door and opened it for her to get in. Once inside, she rolled down the window to finish their goodbye. Before she drove off, this chivalrous guy sweetly reached for her hand, brought it to his lips, and kissed it tenderly.

Rare, stolen moments. Uncommon acts of service. Extraordinary courtesies.

Gentlemen, these are the things that woo a woman's heart. Think of her before yourself. I like how The Message words Ephesians 5:25-28:
"Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage."
Yes, this passage specifically addresses married couples, but I think those of us who are single need to be in the practice of honoring others above ourselves as well. In fact, chivalry is defined much more broadly than actions just between a committed couple.

1. the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, esp courage, honour, justice, and a readiness to help the weak
2. courteous behaviour, esp towards women

Chivalry is not limited to how men act towards women. As a woman, there is something so attractive about a man who serves others - men and women. Men who see a need and seek to meet it are the ones we respect and admire.

In the same way, we women should seek to encourage, support, and serve. The Bible reminds us all to not be concerned for our own good but for the good of others (1 Cor 10:24).

I am thankful for this gentle reminder today - a reminder to seek the good of others before my own good.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Is Heaven for real?

Do you think about Heaven?

I wasn't planning to spend a majority of the day with Heaven on my mind, but it sort of worked out that way, and I'm glad it did. Many people today would say, "You're young! Focus on what's in front of you and what you can achieve here and now. There will be plenty of time for you to think about Heaven down the road."

If you know James, you know he would disagree,
"And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, “Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.” You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.”

Mom and Dad gave me Randy Alcorn's book Heaven for Easter. I'm a few chapters in and have already learned so much. This is one of those books that really helps you understand what you've read in so many different parts of the Bible because it pulls everything together. One of the great analogies I came across in the book today was written by C.S. Lewis:

"Women sometimes have the problem of trying to judge by artificial light how a dress will look by daylight. That is very like the problem for all of us: to dress our souls not for the electric lights of the present world but for the daylight of the next. The good dress is the one that will fact that light. For that light will last longer" (58).

This also makes me think of shopping for the in-style clothes that are often cheaply made. They keep you in the latest fashion but won't last through the seasons. They will become outdated and require frequent replacing. However, if you invest in a classic, well-made article of clothing, it will outlast all the others.

It is this way with dressing our souls. We should invest our time and energy preparing (dressing) our souls for eternity and not just for today or tomorrow.

After spending some time in Heaven (reading about it, rather), I saw the movie "Heaven Is For Real" with my family. It was a sweet movie that asked some very serious questions:

  • Is Heaven real?
  • What is Jesus like?
  • Will we recognize each other in Heaven?
  • Do we really believe what the Bible says about Heaven?

I always enjoy going to movies like this one with my family and friends because it gives us a chance to discuss and affirm each other. There has been a lot of discussion about "religious" movies lately. I think that as long as you know what you believe (and can support it with Scripture), these movies can be an encouragement and spur great conversation.

So, I'll ask it again: Do you think about Heaven? If not, I challenge you to spend some time thinking about it. Life on earth can be really good...but going Home will be beyond words. I can't wait to go Home. Sara Groves says it well in her song "Going Home:"

I’ve been feeling kind of restless
I’ve been feeling out of place
I can hear a distant singing
A song that I can’t write
But it echoes of what I’m always trying to say 
There’s a feeling I can’t capture
It’s always just a prayer away
I want to know the ending
Things hoped for but not seen
But I guess that’s the point of hoping anyway 
Of going home, I’ll meet you at the table
Going home, I’ll meet you in the air
And you are never too young to think about it
Oh, I cannot wait to be home 
I’m confined by my senses
To really know what you are like
You are more than I can fathom
And more than I can guess
And more than I can see with human sight 
But I have felt you with my spirit
I have felt you fill this room
And this is just an invitation
Just a sample of the whole
And I cannot wait to be going home 
Going home, I’ll meet you at the table
Going home, I’ll meet you in the air
And you are never too young to think about it
Oh, I cannot wait to be going, to be going home