Saturday, June 30, 2012

fruit of the spirit: faithfulness.

..courtesy of my New Orleans friend, Nathan. super grateful for this guy because he not only teaches us about God centered relationships and being a great parent, but also because he lets me hang out with his amazing wife. a lot. they are a big part of the church we've been attending and Emily has been such a blessing to get to know during this big move in an unfamiliar city. & I needed a little help on turning faithfulness into words this week, so here he is to talk about it.

Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find? – Proverbs 20:6

So what is faithfulness? It’s simply a person who is loyal, dependable, trustworthy, and honest. And sadly, I think this is one of most absent fruit in the life of most Christians in my generation. Time and time again, I see my friends commit to doing something and never act upon that commitment or see them find themselves so afraid of commitment that they run away as quickly as possible. When I became a Christian, it was one of the things that probably changed the quickest. Prior to being a Christ follower, I wasn’t a person of my word and could care less about faithfulness. Now, as a Christian, I want to be a person of my word. I desire for my yes to be yes and my no to be no. 

At the end of the day, a person either chooses to live a life of selfishness or a life of faithfulness. You can choose to be faithful to your marriage or you can choose to be selfish in your marriage. We can choose to be faithful in our job or we can choose to be selfish in our job. We can choose to be faithful in our relationships or we can choose to be selfish in our relationships. Your love of self will quickly harm anything of value in your life. Love is meant to be shared, not squandered. 

Here are some lessons that I’ve learned on my journey with faithfulness: 

1) Remember Christ’s faithfulness to me. 

I think it’s helpful when talking about faithfulness to begin with discussing the faithfulness of God. We are ultimately dependent on His faithfulness for our salvation (1 Corinthians 1:8-9), for Him to forgive us of our sinfulness (1 John 1:9), and for eternal life (Hebrews 10:23). We are dependent on Him to deliver us from temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). We are dependent on Him to deliver us through the difficult times of suffering (1 Peter 4:19). Luckily, God isn’t like us in that he doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6). He’s ever constant. We can trust in His faithfulness because He is faithful in all of his promises (Psalm 145:13)! 

When I’m reminded of the faithfulness of Christ to me, I am able to remember my faithfulness to others. 

2) Remember the why of my commitment. 

When we commit to a person or project, we always remember the what – I’m doing x to accomplish y. But my one time choice of commitment is not enough. I have to renew that commitment. I have to find myself continually coming back to the why rather than the what of that commitment. I have to come back and remember why I’m faithful to my spouse. I have to come back and remember why I’m faithful to my church. In the difficult times, if I don’t have a why, I’ll find myself abandoning the commitment altogether. 

3) Remember that a no is better than an abandoned yes. 

There is a fine balance between committing to everything that comes your way and committing to nothing. If you commit to everything, you will quickly burnout and the important things that you committed to will all suffer in quality. If you commit to nothing, you will find yourself years later filled with regret after an unaccomplished and uncommitted life. 

In the process, remember the importance of saying say no to the unimportant, but do not negate the necessary. While in the process, also remember to keep an ear tuned to God to direct your steps. 

4) Remember to commit to things that add value to your life. 

It’s okay to be a little selfish and some commitments are rewarding. A 25th wedding anniversary is a rewarding time. Celebrate! You enjoy spending time with underprivileged children and giving them hope of a better future. Engage! You enjoy playing weekend basketball with friends - suit up and enjoy your friendships and the friendly competition. It’s perfectly okay to enjoy your commitments. 

5) Remember to commit to the things that matter. 

God, Marriage, Family, Church – these are things that have everlasting significance. These things matter. The birthday party for your cousin’s bratty children – not so much. If you are going to commit, make sure the things that you commit to are quality commitments.

'Your love of self will quickly harm anything of value in your life.' wise words. & really glad he mentioned psalm 145:13. such a great reminder to be faithful to God..

'..the Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.'

so what does faithfulness mean to you? feel free to chime in.

also, read from others in the fruit of the spirit series:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

black bean tacos and ballerinas.

okay, I normally don't do food posts.. it feels like everyone has a "right" way to do things and conversations can get way too opinionated sometimes. nothing like being bullied into eating healthier. no need for that. but on our journey of eating a little bit better (we're making a big effort, for us), I'm finding some delicious recipes from some healthy eaters in the internet world.

we made these tacos tonight and they were delish. we didn't use the optional mayonaise and it was great just that way. super quick and easy to throw together and made a good amount for us with just a tiny bit left over (so-side note-if you're making this for more than two, maybe double the recipe).

we cut back on our meat intake just a bit. but I'm just going to say this.. I like chicken. and my man loves steak. so we're comfortable with eating alllll of the the things God has given us, in moderation. but I'm also loving finding other ways to get protein as well. (quinoa, anyone?) so there's that.

I wish I had a photo of the tacos for you, but the ones with the recipe are great, so just look at those. or you can just look at this, which has nothing to do with food, for a minute. even better.

have a wonderful night, everyone. I'll be around soon for some thoughts on faithfulness, hopefully.

Friday, June 22, 2012

fruit of the spirit: goodness.

goodness [good-nis] noun:
     1. the state or quality of being good.
     2. moral excellence; virtue.
     3. kindly feeling; kindness; generosity.
     4. excellence of quality: goodness of workmanship.
     5. the best part of anything; essence; strength.

these last couple weeks have gone by way too fast. but it is good to be home with my husband.

the generosity of the people in my parents lives continues to blow me away. they were able to drive down here (with me tagging along-one way tickets are SO much cheaper, ha) and visit for a few days (which makes me think of how they were able to go to PARIS when we were STUCK there). both times the physical made it seem impossible, but the spiritual and the generosity of others made it just the opposite. those people, the wonderful friends my parents have, teach me about goodness.
they were able to experience a little bit of New Orleans and my dad finally got to see where his daughter was living. he said he's proud of us. so, distance aside, I think he approves.

speaking of my parents.. today is their anniversary! twenty seven years. happy day to the greatest of mom and dads. send love their way today.
isn't that the cutest? note that both of them have on tap shoes. can't even handle it.
more goodness:

Friday, June 15, 2012

those little moments.

a special moment with this little girl, just the two of us. as I slipped away from the family to look at the sunglasses real quick, she ran so fast to catch up. I felt her grab my hand, and softly say, "I wanna go!" on the way back from the sunglasses (and then browsing all of the jewelry-especially the ones with feathers), we stopped to try on some hats and giggled all the while. it was such a sweet few minutes. I feel so grateful to be her aunt.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

fruit of the spirit: kindness..

..from the mouths of four year olds.

what does it mean to be kind?

s: not be mean. share. be nice. no hitting. no kicking... peanut butter's pretty nice!
>>disclaimer: she was licking peanut butter from her fingers as she was talking. though I would have to agree, peanut butter is pretty darn nice.

e: share your toys. be nice. no hitting. share your food.

show me how to be kind to each other..

ephesians 4:32 | be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.

proverbs 12:25 | anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

colossians 3:12 | therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

choose kindness. and for goodness sake people, share your toys.

keep up with the series:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

daydreamer in michigan.

this is the sweetest thing ever. so beautiful. can't wait to be a mom.

don't get excited, it's not happening right now. just daydreaming of that someday happiness.

then I had a Dove dark chocolate from my gram's house and the wrapper said, 'daydreaming is free'. appropriate.

twenty-five sounds weird. but today, that's what I am. so I'm just going to go daydream some more. have a lovely night, wonderful people.

Monday, June 04, 2012

not leaving until wednesday and starting yesterday I already miss my husband.

can you have too much patience? ha. I would just like time to slow down a tad so I can have one more day here. but that probably wouldn't feel like enough. and at the same time I can't wait to get away.

yeah that's definitely not having to do with patience. probably just more of time needed to get out of town. and refreshed, I hope.

but I was thinking about peace and patience and how without one, the other is hard to attain. impatient moments are definitely not peaceful; when we don't have peace, we're impatient for it or something else.

be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. romans 12:12.

in our little community apartment, we're currently practicing patience while our strawberries grow. tiny little things in the beginning, aren't they?

that's all I really have on patience for now. I'll be in our home town wednesday afternoon for a bit and then my parents and I are diving back down here the next week so they can finally visit our new home. I'm sure I'll be roaming my internet space here before then, since this laptop here is completely portable. maybe my nieces will teach me something about patience. (:

what are your thoughts on patience?

for more thoughts on patience, and other fruits:

Saturday, June 02, 2012

peace continued.

I got an email the other day and in the subject line was, 'The newness of June' and it just sounded so peaceful and refreshing and I thought, 'GOOD THING. thank you, Jesus.' not that May was so terrible; there were many great moments. just looking forward to something new, you know? we'll see what God brings in June.

this just hasn't been my week, though. I am trying to stay at peace because naturally I'm being tested in that area, since the fruit this week is, none other than, peace.

but the reason I can have peace and be content during times that don't seem peaceful, when it doesn't even make sense how calm I remain, is hard to explain. this is the only way I can:

and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7.

I can remember a time that I couldn't grasp having peace during trials and life is so much more enjoyable now. we are told not worry and to have peace. meaning, we're sinning if we worry. that's not very peaceful. so I encourage you to strive to find and receive the peace of God. He takes care of the things we think we need to worry about.

some other reminders of graciously given peace:

psalm 34:14 turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

romans 8:6 the mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

psalm 29:11 the Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.

john 14:27 peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you and the world gives. Do not let your hands be troubled and do not be afraid. [He has given His peace to us. already. we just have to receive and accept it and do what he says.]

And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than look down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow. -G.K. Chesterton

listen: Love Came Down

for more peace, and other fruits: