Sabotage

Jesus in Tarcal w
Jesus in Tarcal, HungarDonDon’t be your own worst enemy!

Don’t be your own worst enemy!

If you have a lot of things in your life that you pull the plug on before anyone else does, you might want to dig a little deeper into the why. The time spent on soul searching is valuable. You might be chipping at it daily with devotions and study but sometimes it takes a bit more to uncover what is going on.

Participate in a Christ-centered weekend retreat: you will find you are not alone in your struggles and you might gain some useful tools and insights. God has a lot to say through others.

Schedule your own Christ-centered private retreat: if you get distracted by others and are at the point where you know you need to dig in on your own, do it! God has a lot to say all by Himself! Scouring Scripture can help you see where the “who I want to be” and “who I am” struggle is and you might better understand the “why” behind it.

Talk with a Christ-centered and trustedworthy friend and ask them what they see: but be prepared to hear some observations that surprise you. Their insights might be useful. You don’t have to agree with everything they have said and you don’t have to change everything the point out. But if you are ready for a little soul searching, a true friend is golden: they can see our intentions, our failures, and help us see how we are missing the mark.

We all struggle.

Ignoring it never works. If you are in a space where you don’t want to be and there seems to be a looming path ahead of you, it is likely time to set aside the time to work it out.

God forgives, renews, and restores but there is still consequences that we have to deal with. But knowing His forgiveness, restoration, mercy, grace, and renewal is there can give us the courage to face things we have been avoiding.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” [Joshua 1:9 NIV]

On the way,

Liz

A Time to Kill

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A two horse open sleigh!

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


I was in Hungary for two weeks earlier this month on the Winter Traditions Tour hosted through our company, Magyar Marketing. We planned to participate in several activities that typically happen in the winter months, when it is cold in Hungary.

According to Weather Spark, daily high temperatures are 44°F with daily low temperatures of 30°F. We couldn’t have asked for better weather for what we were hoping to accomplish, which included a horse drawn sleigh ride in picture perfect snow, copious amounts of forralt bor (mulled wine), and a pig killing party.

Disclaimer: We, ourselves, did not kill the pig, but someone did. We did take part in the observation of the pig processing and several of our tour members participated in the kolbász (sausage) stuffing competition.

Why would we do this?

All but one of us in the tour group had Hungarian heritage. All of our Hungarian grandparents came to the United States in the early 1900’s and we were interested to experience a bit more about their lives and their traditions in Magyarország (Hungary) Of course, it is possible to have this type of party in the United States, but it is much more fun to have it in Hungary! I have traveled there a number of times over the last 6 years and each time I learn a little more of the language. I also learn more about Hungary, my relatives, and myself.

When I visit my relatives in Hungary, there are gardens, vineyards, and fruit and nut trees. And, there are chickens, ducks, and pigs in the backyard. These are not pets. The chickens and ducks produce eggs for a while and then they end up providing a larger meal for the family. The pig does a great job composting leftovers and then turning them into many wonderful meals, including a family favorite, szalonna (bacon). If you love bacon, you would love szalonna — it is flavorful and perfect!

When I was much younger, we were visiting a family in very rural Transylvania (the area of Romania that used to belong to Hungary prior to the Treaty of Trianon in 1920). There was a well and an outhouse and no running water. It was a memorable experience for me. I enjoyed running around in the yard and playing with the chickens. I even had a favorite. But the next day, my favorite was missing. When I understood what had happened, I couldn’t eat dinner. Farmyard-to-table has been difficult concept for me to wholeheartedly embrace and participate in.

My relatives in Hungary who have backyard animals for food waste nothing when it comes time to processing. Chicken feet are in the soup. The smoked meats in the house hang out in a special room. When we met our relatives for the first time in 2012, we met the wedding pig. The wedding was about 9 months away but the pig was being well fed and well cared for in order to provide important protein and nutrients for the wedding guests. The time to kill signaled the celebration, which is a much different concept than what I think of when I hear the word “kill”. I am just a few generations removed from that idea in my family, but those who are into farm life know there is a time to kill. It might be because of disease, it might be due to the time of year, and it might just be time to celebrate.

On the Way,

Liz

 

 

 

 

 

A Time to Speak

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Swans on Lake Balaton in Hungary.

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


If you know me at all, you know that it is sometimes hard for me to discern when it is time to speak what is on my mind. I just naturally love conversation and am prone to speak in very small group settings. Sometimes the person who speaks often (quite possibly too often) might get passed by when they have something very valuable to share because their non stop verbiage is just too much for others to absorb. I think everyone has a different saturation point when it comes to words.

Allowing the space of silence in a group builds in processing time for those who can only absorb so many words. And I suspect those who benefit that extra time are also fairly thoughtful about when they might choose to speak. Maybe even too thoughtful. So it is important to create the space in friendships. families, the workplace, and other gathering times so everyone has an opportunity to speak and to be heard.

Allowing pauses in conversation requires practice. Sometimes silence can be uncomfortable.  Having a conversation is a bit like with reading a book (which is a conversation of the one sided sort): there are spaces (margins) in books that allow some visual space — allowing for a auditory space is just as important.

In a meeting, my husband is typically quiet and listens and then produces an incredibly thoughtful response or observation at the end. I have a tendency to ask clarification questions and provide feedback and thoughts throughout a meeting. I think that is because I am a verbal processor. I have to get it out in order to figure out what it is I want to say. Don can process all that stuff in his mind and then speak his thoughts very succinctly. I find it fascinating because I just don’t work that way.

Words are powerful and carefully chosen words are even more powerful. I have spent a lifetime learning that just because I think it doesn’t mean I need to share it with the world. Journaling has been an important way I have learned to process thoughts and speak them quietly, to an audience of One.

How do our words reflect our state of mind?

Have you been around someone who lashes out at every opportunity? Or around someone who speaks soothing and encouraging words? The first kind of person is hard to be around and the second type can be a balm to a weary soul. If you know someone who is very generally pretty loving but is having a moment of frustration it is good to keep in mind that they are likely having a moment. But those who are ugly, critical, caustic, impatient, and intolerant? Well, part of me has compassion for them because clearly their heart is troubled. But, honestly, the other part of me wants to run the other way. It isn’t that I never have those moments. I do. But I hope those who love and know me might allow me a small space for processing and then, when it has gone far enough, will nudge (push or pull) me in the healthier direction.

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.  Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.  A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” [Luke 6:43-45 NIV]

In this world of pain, disease, death, and suffering it is important to share words of love and light and life. God’s Word is full of good words.

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. [John 6:63 NIV]

Speak Life!

On the Way,

Liz

 

Missions: Countries & People Groups

Map of Old Hungary
Last weekend, Don and I stepped out of our typical world of college admissions and invoicing/public relations/running a household & business and connected in with a church body (E Free) and their conference about their mission efforts in Hungary. I think they have been sending people to Hungary for at least 13 years. The most interesting thing to me was that no one there seemed to have any connection to Hungary by ethnicity except for one guy, who was a Hungarian from Hungary, and me. But these people were all so passionate about Hungary and her people. God gave them a heart for Hungary! And then I read Kisses from Katie and she, too, had no ethnic connection to Uganda, but fell in love with the people of Uganda. God gave Katie a heart for Uganda!

If you don’t have a heart for a certain country maybe God is giving you a heart for a people group. Some people become connected to and passionate for a country or a people group because they have heard a missionary speak. Maybe you know a missionary in the field who has asked for prayer. Ask God to cultivate in you a heart for encouraging those who serve in missions and a passion for sharing the Gospel. And ask Him to give you a heart for something bigger than yourself!

As you pray for a country or people group, consider these PrayerPoint starts:

* receptive hearts to the Gospel
* native ministry partners
* creative & relative connecting points to share the Gospel
* funds needed for the workers and programs
* careful spending of the funds donated
* healthy and multiple partnering churches and church bodies
* creative ways to work through governmental issues
* language barriers to be removed
* the Gospel to be shared in many ways
* long-term relationship building

If you have a certain country on your heart, keep in mind, you may never be called to serve there. Being a prayer partner for a country or a people group is a big job but don’t be so overwhelmed that you are unable to do anything. Take it one step at a time. Learn about the country. Trace a map and label the top 5 cities. There are other hands on and practical ways to become more connected to a country. And if you have kids or work with kids, follow their lead. Encourage them to adopt a country or multiple countries during a year. If you do it monthly in your home or classroom you can pray for 12 countries in a year!

I do suspect God will grant you a heart for a country or a people group if you ask Him because He loves people. If you ask Him for a heart like His, He will certainly grant you a heart for missions. Having a heart for missions opens the door for God to work and develop in you a heart for certain people.

And who knows where that might lead.