IM Illiterate

I had no trouble learning about abbreviations in grade school, but I sure have struggled with IM (Instant Messaging) abbreviations! Used in IM chatting and text messaging, they are like a foreign language, and I confess, IM illiterate.

My friend Gail used OTOH in a recent chat. “Say what?” I broke in. She explained, “Oh, you didn’t know that? It means ‘On The Other Hand.’” The problem is, with people like me who have a limited IM vocabulary, it takes more time to explain the abbreviation than to simply type in the phrase it represents! So Gail sent me an IM Abbreviation List, which I am slowly memorizing. I don’t know when I’ll use ADIP (Another Day In Paradise) or HTNOTH (Hit The Nail On The Head), but I’ll be ready eventually.

As my husband travels in foreign countries, we’ve used simple abbreviations in texting—phrases like “b4” and “gr8”—things you might see on a vanity car license. We sprinkle our messages with LOL (Laughing Out Loud), BTW (By The Way), and TTYL (Talk To You Later). I’m dying to try out newly-memorized abbreviations on my husband, but OTOH, do I really want to explain them when he is off in Guatemala or Russia?

I am glad that God didn’t abbreviate anything. He carefully and clearly took the time to spell out who He is and what He expects. He knew that with all of the false teachers in these latter days, I would need plain answers that square with His character and standards. My husband has often said, “God doesn’t hide His will like Easter Eggs!” God makes most of my choices plain: good or evil, truth or error. If I trust and honor Him with all my heart and don’t try to figure out everything without Him, He will show me how to make wise choices and live right (Proverbs 3:5-6). The more I know His Word, the more I will speak His language.

Maybe IM illiterate, but I don’t want to be spiritually illiterate—and that’s MTCW (My Two Cents Worth) for today!

* translation: Way to go, girlfriend! Loved your blog today. By the way, I don't know if you read my mail, but can't do lunch today. On the other hand, I'm available Friday if that works for you. Let me know. Talk to you later.


My Treasured, ''Eaten'' Bible

My favorite Bible is not only dog-eared, it is dog-chewed. In 1967, my old dog, Muffy, decided its red leather cover was tastier than his chew-bone one day, and the poor Bible was never the same. Next to one corner of the damaged cover, on the inside flap, I later wrote, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them” (Jeremiah 15:16). I was a smart-aleck kid.

When my dad’s parents gave me this Bible on my birthday, it also contained my Grandmother’s words: “Grandpa and I don’t have much worldly goods to leave you, but we do have the Lord to give to you. May His Word be one of the guides of your life, and may you go forth determined to serve Him. (Psalm 27: 1, 4-5, 14).”

This was the book I studied at Bible College. Many years later, the binding is broken, and pages stick out unevenly, fraying with continued use. The front and back flyleafs are crammed with quotations and references, and its onion skin pages are full of underlinings that bleed through everywhere. Whole pages are scotch-taped in place. It’s not the easiest Bible to use anymore. I continually stuff in loose pages, and try not to tear the fragile ones. It is still my favorite Bible.

A couple of Christmases ago, my youngest son and his wife bought me a replacement as a gift. It is an exact duplicate but with thicker pages, and I’m slowly transferring my notes. Someday, I will give my older son the original Bible, and I will return the newer Bible with copied notes to my younger son. As far as I’m concerned, these will be my most valuable gifts to leave behind. The Word of God lasts forever, and I pray that it will guide their lives as it has mine.

The blessing of my “eaten” Bible is that God has used the study of His Word in my life—not only for personal edification, but for ministry to others. Today, I testify to the second part of Jeremiah 15:16, “... and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart... .”


My Other Dad

One of the best choices I ever made was to invite my husband’s Father into my life. It wasn’t simply a matter of a new Dad-by-marriage, but rather, a new Dad to love. Bob’s dad has befriended, accepted, and loved me, including me with his beautiful daughters and talented sons. He has listened to my struggles in life and advised me wisely. I deeply miss my own dad, but my other dad has been a rock in my life for nearly 34 years. He is always there, praying and caring. He’s a family man, a Navy man, and God’s man.

When I read or hear about someone having “in-law problems,” I grieve, knowing how much that person is missing. In-laws are added wealth, and I’m not talking about money. They are a treasure of knowledge and strength in an otherwise confusing and frustrating world. Dad Wilson is such a treasure.

I’ve learned through the years that the ''in-law'' situation is simply one choice after another, because there is so much room for misunderstanding when two families blend. Because Dad and Mom Wilson made room in their hearts for me, I’m learning how to open my heart wider to love and bless my own two daughters-in-law. I have a godly example of patience and creative love.

Leviticus 19:32 says we are to honor those with a gray head, and Job 12:12 explains why: ''Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.'' I treasure the wisdom in my in-laws, especially their choice to fear the Lord, which is the beginning of all wisdom.

If you are struggling with a choice to love an in-law, let me encourage you that passing on a legacy of love is a process, so listen and learn. Be patient. Honor them at every opportunity. A close relationship may not always be easy, but it’s so worthwhile.

As Mom Wilson first taught me, we are really ''in-loves,'' not in-laws. I’m so glad that they made the choice on a hot summer day in July to love me and call me ''daughter.''


Not Choosing Blindly

Choices with wonderful promises (or at least, positive results) are woven throughout the Bible. God often gives indications of what will happen as we choose. He doesn’t want us to choose blindly as if we are spinning a game spinner; He wants us to base our choices on His truth, and He often warns about consequences or offers a promise.

One example is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him (choices), and He shall direct your paths” (promise). Galatians 6:9 and Luke 9:23-24 are two other examples of choice and consequence. And Ephesians 6:2-3 clearly reminds us that Exodus 20:12, where children are instructed to honor their parents, is the first of the Ten Commandments with a promise attached.

This cause and effect, sowing and reaping, is woven throughout the Scriptures. It began in Genesis (2:16-17) when God gave Adam a clear choice that carried a deadly consequence for a wrong choice. Certainly, we can all choose to obey or disobey God’s directives—He gives us that free choice—but we cannot choose the consequences. Later, after Adam and Eve sinned, God offered the promise of redemption for fallen mankind (3:15).

We move into the adventure of following God when we discover the exciting promises and blessings that are ours in choosing what He desires for us. Now that I realize that the whole Bible is full of choices, I have marked some of the consequences and promises related to those choices. I obey God not because of His blessings, because He is the mighty Creator and I am His creation, but His blessings for choosing well are surely an added delight.