Pragmatic Communion

pragmatic living in the presence of God

one minute with God: James 1:19

a Quote:
“It is ironic that we try to impress people by saying clever or funny things, yet nothing binds one human being to another more than the sense that they have been deeply, carefully listened to. It is no accident that we speak of paying attention to people; attention is the most valuable currency we have.”
Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them
by John Ortberg

my Prayer:
Lord, help me to listen today. Help me to SEE people you want me to listen to today. Please help me to turn off the auto-pilot I so often find myself operating in and really look people in the eyes. Bless me with patience and empathy today, Lord. Allow me to be an instrument of your unconditional love and to share it authentically with someone else through my silence, patience and eye contact. Help me to hear the real messages behind the words instead just the words – appropriate words, carefully formulated as an expected or proper response.

Please keep my pride in check and help me to remember that I don’t need to try and control how other people perceive me. Help me to be authentic, knowing that not everyone will respond positively to me today. Instead of trying to make sure I don’t look like a fool in front of anyone today, please help me to be real with people, giving you a chance to show someone else that they are not the only one who’s got problems.

the Word: My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak . . .
James 1:19 (NIV)

This was dual published on my Pragmatic Compendium blog.

September 8, 2010 Posted by | bible, books, christian living, devotions, prayer, spiritual growth, two minutes with God | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

one minute with God: 1 Corinthians 1:10

a Quote:
“Instead, make it your goal to love those who disagree with you. Go for the love, not the win.”

“We don’t always have to agree to get along. Our verse today says, “Let there be real harmony.” In an orchestra, there’s a big difference between unison and harmony. If all the musicians played in unison all the time, the music would get pretty boring. It’s the harmony that creates beauty in music, with different players playing different instruments and different notes, but all under the same direction of one conductor. The goal of each musician is not to play louder than the others or to finish the piece first; the goal is to ‘be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.‘”
from Better Together: What on Earth Are We Here For? Devotional and Journal edited by Rick Warren

my Prayer:
Lord, please help me find harmony with the cranky person I have to work with today. Please bless me with patience and a calm temperament. Please remind me to pause and respond instead of react when he speaks condescendingly and sarcastically. Thank you for the discernment you’ve already given me. Thank you for showing me that source of crankiness has little to do with the work, and more to do with his fear of losing credibility with our mutual client. Please break down our pride – both of us, so that we can work together, bringing the best of both of our capabilities to solve our client’s problem. Regardless of whether he is a Christian, please open his mind and make him receptive to this idea of combining our knowledge openly with the common goal of serving. Please let my freakish love of harmony cross over from my music to my work today.

the Word: I beg of you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to stop arguing among yourselves. Let there be real harmony so that there won’t be splits in the church. I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought at purpose.
1 Corinthians 1:10 (LB)

This was dual published on my Pragmatic Compendium blog.

August 27, 2010 Posted by | bible, books, christian living, devotions, patience, prayer, spiritual growth, two minutes with God | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

empathy. compassion. kindness.

Lord, please bless me with empathy and compassion and kindness.

“Mahatma Gandhi said, “I like their Christ, I don’t like their Christians.”
Friedrich Nietzshe said, “I will believe in the Redeemer when the Christian looks a little more redeemed.”

Their points need to be taken.”

The Case for Faith
by Lee Strobel

This was dual published on my Pragmatic Compendium blog.

June 3, 2010 Posted by | apologetics, books, christian living, God's love, prayer, spiritual growth, witnessing | , , , , | Leave a comment

don’t react. respond.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18 NIV

When I was in high school, I worked at McDonalds. I started on “fries and shakes” (back when they actually MADE the shakes – with ice cream and syrup and a real shake machine ). Over the years I worked every job, from birthday party hostess to counter to drive thru to grill . . . even manager trainee.

During my senior year of high school, I was assigned to work drive thru with another girl from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. One of us worked the window and the other “filled the orders.” Back then, McDonalds only had ONE drive thru window. Back then, working the window meant taking the orders at the speaker AND taking the money AND handing the orders to the customer. So, one of us stood in the same place for 4 hours every day and the other ran around like crazy, filling the orders. When I worked the window, I would take the order from the customer at the speaker, take the money from the customer at the window, turn around, grab the already filled bag and drinks, hand them out the window and repeat. All the while my friend and co-worker bobbed and weaved through the employees working the counter to grab food and fill the next bag. Some shifts I worked the window and she filled orders, some shifts she worked the window and I filled orders.

WE. WERE. FAST. Our goal was the “30 second drive thru” McDonalds constantly pushed. If the manager kept the food coming from the grill and there was an assigned “fry” person, we were very, very often able to meet that 30 second mark.

It got boring.

So, we looked for ways to make things more interesting. First we tried pranks and jokes. Like writing “HELP! LET ME OUT! on an empty bag and place it where the filled order should go, that kind of thing. That got boring. What to do. What to do . . .

We decided we were going to make people smile within 30 seconds. Getting the friendly people to smile was easy. Getting the distracted and indifferent people to smile – also easy. Each smile was a win. The challenge? Cranky people. We were going to get them to smile too. When a grouchy, mean, impatient, cranky, sarcastic (you get the idea) customer came to our drive thru, we were sickeningly sweet and friendly. We smiled, we were overly-nice, we joked, we smiled more. And when a cranky person drove away after giving a smile – or even just a grin? That wasn’t just a win, it was a bonus!

We used kindness as a weapon, adopting the “kill em’ with kindness” philosophy. It was fun, and we got through our shifts without hating the job or the customers. We were just kids, goofing around, thinking we were manipulating people and feeling impressed with ourselves.

But what I learned from that experience has stayed with me. It doesn’t take much to diffuse a situation. It actually takes very little. Very little pride or arrogance, I mean. It means giving people grace instead of what I think they deserve. When I diffuse a situation, it means no more “right back atcha” or “no you di ent!” It means consciously choosing to respond, instead of react. I’ve mentioned this before, that I want to respond instead of react. I learned it from my sister-in-law. She told me that one year her prayer and goal was to learn how to respond, instead of react. It was a l o n g year. Her next year’s prayer and goal?

To respond appropriately.

I love that. I’m working on that. Not that I’m able to do it all the time, mind you, but I have realized something. When I’m off balance, when I don’t get any solitude, when I’m tired and/or over-extended, when I don’t devote time to prayer or reading my Bible – I’m irritable. When I’m irritable, I take it out on other people. But, when I’M okay, when I have peace, I have the wherewithal to overcome my first reaction and instead, choose to respond. I can give people grace instead of what I think they deserve.

Strangers, acquaintances, friends, family – it doesn’ matter. Because it has nothing to do with THEM. It’s a decision I make about how I will respond to them, no matter the relationship. No matter the offense.

Sounds lofty. Pious. Impossible. Maybe. I can’t do it all the time. But I can try. And if I fail when I fail, I’ll try again.

Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitude toward life. The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.
Charles R. Swindoll
Christian Reader, v. 33, n. 4.

This devotion was inspired by Amy’s post entitled “When You Give Someone a Cookie” at “God’s Work in Progress.

August 20, 2008 Posted by | grace, spiritual growth, Uncategorized, witnessing | , , , , | 5 Comments