The Practice of Love

The kids and I gather together this evening. I had been desiring for our family to have a gathering in the evenings to read the Bible, talk about what we have read, each give thanks for the day, then pray. But I know that my beloved husband can’t be easily invited to such. He sings praises, worships and prays every night for more or less two hours. Gathering with the family for the purposes I have mentioned is a thing he’d rather not join. This saddens me but I was determined to start with our two kids.

Hannah and I have been meeting to read the Bible and discuss, but this time, we include soon-to-be five-year-old Tim for he also needs a lot of teaching and praying over.

Lately, I have been thinking deeply on how to honour God more in my life. I felt that there must be something more to all the things that I do, something that is wrought by the Lord in and through me. I know that I lack and I err and I fail to follow through all that He wants me to  be and to do.

So the three of us gather together, forming a small circle (I don’t want any of the Lord’s words to fall to the ground). We talk about love. I point out to them that we are not loving the way the Lord Jesus wants us to. I tell them that sometimes we choose to be impatient, unkind, ungentle to one another. I point to myself. Why do I let myself speak harshly at times and snap rather than pay attention? Why can’t I completely rein in my temper and just be known for my gentleness? Why can’t I stop myself from answering back their dad when I am hurt? Why can’t I just take the pain and keep quiet? Most often, it’s my pride that gets hurt. So then, why can’t I just kill my pride? Didn’t the Lord tell us to pluck out our eye or cut off our hand if these make us sin? To have a meek and quiet spirit is still my earnest prayer.

“If I am not known for my gentleness, what am I known for? What are we known for?” I ask them, voice cracking. Why would you shove your brother to the side? I am looking intently at Hannah. Why can’t we love just like the Lord loves? Tears find their way out.

“We can’t stay like this”, I tell them. But I also tell them that I’m thankful I’m hurt and broken this way, for that means I’m not numb to God and His commandments. For if one has become numb and unmindful of God and what He thinks, one has become barren, spiritually dead. I am thankful for His tuggings at my heart for I know I am fully feeling, knowing, seeing. I am fully awake! The tears flow freely.

And I tell them more, like the Lord’s commandment (well, more like an urgent plea) to His disciples before He was taken to be crucified.

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:34-35, emphasis added)

We will be known as the Lord’s disciples by the way we love  one another.

“Can we begin to practise love, really, intentionally practise love everyday starting today? Just like how the Lord loves us?” I ask them. The Lord is not harsh nor unkind nor shoves nor shouts at us. Hannah nods sincerely.

I hold Tim’s face. His still-baby skin feels so soft in my hand. I tell him about loving by showing respect. I tell him what is love and what is not. I explain, I implore, and I am held in awe by how his beautiful eyes grow bigger and rounder. His eyes have opened and rounded to the full and I am amazed at the beauty of the faith of a child. If only we could easily open our eyes that big and round and fix them to Jesus, just like little children do. 

Maybe then we would not miss anything. Maybe then we could practise love everyday, even every moment.

We end with prayer. I pray and reach and cry out to God. I offer up our lives; we are His. For only in His light do our uglinesses vanish and we are changed. And we love Him so, with all our hearts, minds, and souls. Copious tears keep streaming down. We have been touched.

I’m linking up with other blogs, please check the list at the side bar.

To Be Like Jesus

We talk via Skype and she asks what brand of wallet I want her to send me. If she had asked me ten years earlier, before I had known the Savior who wore dusty sandals, I would have told her a very expensive brand that would suit my fancy. I tell her now an American brand that has become so popular with the masses, and she goes “Eeeww! That’s the national bag of America!” Was I offended? No. I can’t think of my Savior staring lustily at an expensive bag whose price tag could feed a thousand children dying of hunger.

It is easy to “forgive” such extravagance in fashion and speech, for one can easily say, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Nevertheless, this doesn’t stop to weary me when I see material wealth being paraded on FB.

But what if a Christian does that? A Christian whom thousands expect to exemplify a Christlike life? You can’t imagine the pain! I had felt that – I was too stunned to speak, and then a palpable sadness took over. Why would one choose to enumerate the imported labels of clothing one is wearing down to the footwear and bag? To the brother or sister who has nothing, what would they feel? Wouldn’t they be lured to be envious and tempted to covet? I mean, I don’t see the point of naming the imported brands except maybe to boast?

The Bible teaches us to “be clothed with humility” (1 Pet. 5:5) and “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 13:14). The Lord must be the one to be seen in us and not our clothing’s labels being advertised. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall (Rom. 14:13 NLT).

But though I’m wearied with these things that I see and hear, I am more wearied, dismayed and disappointed with my own serious blunders and failures as a Christ’s servant, wife, mother, friend. Too dismayed and discouraged sometimes to the point of being tempted to give up, slump, and just do nothing! Why are the very things that I pray and work hard for – to be a better wife and mom and a delightsome child of God – are exactly the things I bungle and stumble on? (Maybe one of the reasons is that, I always want to reach for excellence). And I know that my tears of repentance are never enough to heal the brokenness – it is always the Lord’s mercy that does the job.

A self-examined life is always a good thing. For if one didn’t know how to acknowledge one’s mistakes and failures, how could one correct oneself? For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged (1 Cor. 11:31).

Lately, I’ve been watching music videos with scenes from The Passion of the Christ. And looking at Jesus’ life, I feel like all the dross that had gathered in me is exposed. Seeing Him hanging on the cross bloody, wounded, bruised, dying, I see myself clearly in a mirror, and yes, I see the “log”. I see the shortcomings, the mess, the repeat offenses, the pride, the ugliness I foolishly and repeatedly choose over His glory. Ah! If not for His enduring mercy, where would I be?

Seeing Him there barely hanging on to life, for He still has last words for me, the wave of truth hit me hard: nothing that I do would earn me my salvation. (What made me think otherwise?!). He did it all for me. He sustained all my wounds and bruises. He received all my shame and the insults that were for me. He took all my sin upon Himself and carried me on His shoulders. He died my death. I don’t have any right to brag about the things I have done and do in His name. I can only respond by loving and obeying Him.

We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

Friends, I urge you to watch this deeply moving and convicting music video of Todd Agnew’s “My Jesus”. I echo his lyrics.

AN INVITATION
Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry live streaming of worship services:
http://www.jmcim.tv
http://www.justin.tv/jmcimusasf (for American viewers)
Sunday 10am-5pm
Friday overnight service 8:30pm-4:30am Saturday
(All times Philippine times ~ 12-16 hours ahead of USA)
This information is also posted at the side bar.

My gratitude list:

  • Celebrating wellness. For there were times during the worst of my illness that I was too weak to even change my house clothes.
  • Singing Ilocano songs with my beloved husband in the wee hours of the morning and giggling endlessly.
  • Joy in reading the Word and the wisdom gained.
  • Hannah and her continuing love for learning and playing the piano.
  • homemade strawberry ice cream
  • freshly-baked scones whose aroma seems to say, “Love is all around here.”

Discipline

Are you scared already just by reading the title (~ smile)? But seriously, we do need this just as much as our kids do. We bring out the letter of Paul to the Corinthians, dust it up, bring it under the light, and study closely:

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. (1 Cor. 9:24-28 NLT)

Highlighting these:

Run with purpose in every step.

Discipline the body, training it to do what it should.

Do it for the eternal prize.

In and after all your teachings, do not let yourselves be disqualified.

The danger is that, we may get used to doing those things that are not spiritually profitable, ways and practices that are unpleasant in God’s eyes, and our consciences may adapt to them and embrace them in the passing of time. The way we use our minds, eyes, lips and hands, and how we store up stuff in our hearts in everyday life – these will either lead us to a life that honors God or offends Him.

Here are just some of the things we may get used to practicing:

Being unable to concentrate in God during worship service or in private worship and prayer time. Letting the mind roam and focus on other things that distract communion with God. ~ (And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment – Mark 12:30)

Complaining, cussing, judging others, comparing, competing in the mind. ~ (Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things arejust, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things – Phil. 4:8)

Maintaining a thought life that glorifies covetousness, materialism, malice. ~ (But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints – Eph. 5:3);

Letting resentments, ill will, hurts, unforgiveness, envy, jealousy, pride be stored up in the heart and multiply. ~ (Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice – Eph. 4:31; Therefore, lay aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking – 1 Pet. 2:1; For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there – James 3:16)

Not making the practice of examining own motives. ~ (But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy – James 3:17)

Letting the eyes see and read things that make the heart and mind impure. ~ (…be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless – 2 Pet. 3:14; Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ – 1 Thess. 5:23)

Letting the tongue get used to speaking harshly, abrasively; snapping at the spouse, the kids. ~ (Let your gentleness be known to all men – Phil. 4:5; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness – Prov. 31:26)

Being carried away by an unsaved relative or friend to gossip. ~ (Do not cast off [your] first faith.  Do not be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which [you] ought not. … manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully – 1 Tim. 5:11-14)

Striving against the husband: criticizing, sermoning, not submitting to him or honoring him. ~ (Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives – 1 Pet. 3:1)

Spending too much time online and neglecting to spend time with God and reading and meditating on His Word. ~ (Continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers – Acts 2:42; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word – Acts 6:4)

Giving more priority to social networking, TV, phone, going out than to tending the home and the family. ~ (She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. – Prov. 31:27)

Giving more importance to fashion and how one appears to the world rather than on how to be a light to others, reflecting the Lord’s beauty and showing Christlikeness. ~ (Let others see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves – 1 Pet. 3:2-5)

 It is easy to read the Word regularly, yet, when this is not lived out in everyday basis, in every opportunity and situation, it will not have its mighty work in our lives. Walking in the Word and practicing all its teachings need our conscientious, diligent, intentional, steadfast efforts. We need discipline.

Linked to A Holy ExperienceBrag on God FridayEncourage My HeartPink SaturdaySpiritual SundaysState of the HeartTeach Me TuesdayTeaching What is GoodThe Beauty in His GripTitus 2sdaysWomen in the Word WednesdayWomen Living Well, We are That FamilyProverbs 31 Thursdays

Dealing With a Difficult Marriage Part 3: Don’t Let It Change You for the Worse But for the Better

(photo source)

In this series:

Dealing with a Difficult Marriage Part 1: Do Not Dwell in Your Hurts for a Long Time
Dealing with a Difficult Marriage Part 2: Make a Firm Commitment to Obey Gods Word No Matter What 

It is not our job to change our husbands. That’s an impossible task to do. Until we accept that fact, we wouldn’t stop trying and then failing and being frustrated with the futility of our efforts. Changing a person’s heart is the work of God. That’s why we should never grow faint in offering constant, earnest prayers for ourselves, our husbands and children, for only God can do wonders and miracles in a person’s life.

But, empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit, there are things that we can do to help improve ourselves and our relationships. When we find ourselves in a difficult marriage, we may become bitter and deteriorate into an “ugly”, pitiable person, or we may become a better, stronger, more beautiful woman of God, as the Lord has intended us to become by putting us into our difficult situation in the first place. He wants us to be overcomers.

Many times in the Book of Revelations, the Lord Jesus speaks of the wonderful blessings for those who overcome. We must understand, therefore, that as long as we are at the center of God’s will for us, He will deliver us from whatever difficult situation we are in. In the meantime that we are waiting for Him to transform our marriage, we may focus ourselves into doing the following:

       1.  Live Past Our Disappointments

As long as we adhere to the belief that we have married the wrong person and that he is hopeless, our married lives will become exactly that – beyond repair, hopeless. We can never think and see any good thing about him and our situation. We become torn between thinking of maybe-a-happier-life without him and living a life that does its best to completely ignore him. In both situations, we know that these are not the will of the Lord.

But if we understand and accept that the Lord put that person in our life, especially as sacred a commitment as marriage, then we can rest in the thought that we are not in the wrong relationship but only a difficult passage of our married life. And we can stop thinking that there could be a better life outside of it. On the other hand, we can trust in the Lord that He is with us in this and thus, we will be emboldened to recommit ourselves into the marriage and do our best to make it work.

        2.  Keep the Stance of Constant Forgiveness

This doesn’t mean that we delight in evil or rejoice about injustice, for love does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out (1 Cor. 13:6 NLT), but we do it to liberate ourselves from the burden of unforgiveness, keeping the Lord’s words to forgive “seventy times seven” (Mat. 18:22). Meaning, we should forgive even until we have lost count.

When he seems to be unremorseful, we pray. We pray for grace to forgive even that, too, and rest in the truth that God is righteous and just.

       3.  Re-examine Ourselves

As we wait for the Lord’s help, we can spend this time to search our hearts. Turn the waiting period into a cleansing time wherein we strain to really look inside us and examine our attitudes that might have been annoying to our spouses. Since we realized we cannot change our husbands, then we can turn our attention to ourselves. Maybe there are still things in us that we need to work on and improve. Maybe when we have removed the “mote in our eye”, we can begin to see that it’s not really “a beam” that is lodged in our spouse’s eye (Mat. 7; I intentionally reversed whose is the mote and whose is the beam)! Meaning, maybe if change started in us, removing those things that, upon our thorough studying, irk our spouses, things will improve.

      4.  Make Our Baseline Love, Peace and Friendliness

Maybe we have lived in on-and-off hostilities too long that we have become used to treating each other unterderly. Both partners have become used to criticizing, snapping, and even insulting each other.

Start making your baseline love, peace, and friendliness. Meaning, do not automatically think that the other is hostile making us react in the same way, but always presume that he means well, even if sometimes, he slips. Let nothing fall below this baseline where hostility resides.

Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. (1 Pet. 3:11 NLT)

This is most effective if both spouses agree amicably to set this as the standard and commit to keeping it.

Practice dwelling on the side of love, peace and friendliness all the time, and not on the side of animosity. If one feels that the other is deliberately and actively being antagonistic, do not do the same. Instead, remind him gently but clearly.

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (Eph. 4:15)

       5.  Be a Shining Light

Never forget that we were created for God’s glory and the best way to be that is to be a shining light to others, showing them that He lives in us.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Mat. 5:16 NIV)

So, that being our motivation, let our actions give glory to His name: treating our husbands with respect and loving and caring for our family unflinchingly even if we’re hurting.

Next Monday, by God’s grace, Dealing With a Difficult Marriage Part 4: Focus on Your Marriage and Not on Others’ Marriages.

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My weekly gratitude list – thankful to the Lord for His gifts:

  • the uniting power of need and trials
  • having a sweet, restful slumber with my little Tim, all warm and chubby curled up beside me and snoring away ~ 🙂
  • the beauty of words that give light and heal – grace from the Word
  • morning by morning, waking up to new and refreshing inspirations from my Lord and King!
  • learning that our new housekeeper does nails, too!

“I Must Decrease”

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(source: Google images)

Bible reading: Luke 3

Hannah and I settle for our nightly Bible reading and discussion, and I read this part of Luke 3:

“I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”  (Luke 3:16-17)

One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. I read the powerful words and shivers run through my body. I feel deep within me the great awe and reverence John the Baptist had for the Lord Jesus Christ.

I read the words again, slowly, and I explain them in depth to my daughter. And as I do, I am actually telling myself, too, and I am learning from the words the Holy Spirit puts into my heart and mouth.

John didn’t count himself worthy to get down on his knees and unloose the strap of the Lord’s sandals. He knew that the Lord is above all while he, John, was of the earth. He maintained that humble posture before the King of whose way he was sent to prepare.

I wish I were always like John, never forgetting the reason why I was born, why God created me. To always remember that God created me for His glory and never for mine, that He made me worthy to be used by Him for His purposes and never for fame and people’s admiration of me. For my earthly thinking and desires sometimes get entangled with God’s thoughts and ways, and I get it all askew.

John always knew that he was born to prepare the way of the Lord and he managed to be out of the spotlight throughout his life. For even while the people were coming to him, repenting and being baptized by him, he never failed to tell of the coming Messiah and introduce Him to them. His delight was giving glory to God and seeing the Lord Jesus increase more and more in greatness.

He must increase, but I must decrease. (Luke 3:30)

He must become greater; I must become less. (Luke 3:30 NIV)

It was never John’s desire to steal the Lord’s glory and covet His greatness. I’m afraid that the earthly feelings I sometimes have – feeling hurt when I don’t get many comments on my posts, or being secretly delighted with people’s admiration, and also with the real motives behind the things I do –  might make me guilty of unconsciously stealing God’s glory and coveting people’s admiration that is supposedly for God and God alone.

I never desired or intentionally thought of stealing or coveting the Lord’s glory (God forbid!), but if I feel hurt and disappointed to people’s lack of reaction to the things that He does through me (like my writing), then I’m taking it personally, as if it were all about me. I need to always remember that IT’S ALL ABOUT HIM AND FOR HIS GLORY. Never about me.

Oh, that I would always take John’s posture – humble, unassuming, never being centered to himself, but always pointing to the One who appointed him! Then my joy would be multiplied!

And of course, never forgetting the greatest act of humility that was ever shown to mankind: the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ – King of kings and Lord of lords – chose to be born and laid in a manger with hay as covering and swaddling cloth to wrap Him, because His ways are not the world’s ways, and His thoughts are never the world’s thoughts. For just like heaven is higher than the earth, so are His ways and thoughts are higher than the world’s – ours. For He is above all.

Related article: Spiritually-minded

Also in this series:

Devotions for a Christ-filled Christmas Day 1: What’s in Your Sock? {Part 1: UNICEF}
Devotions for a Christ-filled Christmas Day 2: What’s in Your Sock? {Part 2: Warm Christmas}
Devotions for a Christ-filled Christmas Day 3: The Goodness of the Lord
Devotions for a Christ-filled Christmas Day 4: Yes and Amen!
Devotions for a Christ-filled Christmas Day 5: The Way to the Manger
Devotions for a Christ-filled Christmas Day 6: The Widow and the Fatherless
 

Gratitude List: I’m thankful for

~ very anointed preaching on Sunday service that empowered me and strengthened my walk with the Lord

~ my beloved husband’s birthday celebration, celebrating golden age

~ God who never ceases to inspire

~ old-time friends’ warmth of friendship

~ the beauty that God brings to daily life

~ my two canvases from Patsy now hanging on our walls: Hold on to Hope and John 1:51

~ all the material blessings God continues to shower upon us

~ the hearts to give and share

This post is linked to Multitudes on MondaySharing His Beauty, Domestically Divine, Titus 2sday, < Women Living Well, Proverbs 31 Thursday, Brag on God Friday, Spiritual Sundays

Quiet Strength

You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. (1 Pet. 3:4 NLT)

Quiet spirit.

…You are [Sarah’s] daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. (1 Pet. 3:6 NIV)

Courage. Inner strength.

A quiet spirit + courage and strength = quiet strength.

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I have a model for such and I have looked, studied, and pondered on the few passages that were written about her life: Mary.

Mary, the woman who bravely faced the angel Gabriel who stands in the presence of God and who was sent to bring her a most important message about the grand design of God’s salvation. She took in carefully every word that was spoken to her by the messenger of God, and had only one question, a valid question on how the process of conception would be carried out. Just one question and after that, she humbly, willingly, wholeheartedly, accepted God’s will.

She did not react in panic nor peppered the angel with questions because of fears and misgivings. She had that quiet spirit to assimilate the enormity of such a noble assignment by God. She showed inner courage and strength as she embraced it and began to face an entirely different life from then on – a journey she had no idea of how it would affect her, break her, change her. She did not fret about the future – what would people say? Wouldn’t her reputation be in jeopardy?

She had nothing of these. Instead, she trusted God with quiet strength. A strength that emanates from knowing God and walking humbly and closely with Him.

She did not dwell in fear even for a moment, but rejoiced and gave glory to God, lifting up her praises. She knew of the blessedness of a life totally-abandoned to God. 

And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:18-19)

Even when the shepherds came and paid homage to the Savior King, and the three wise men traveled from the East and came to worship, bringing precious gifts, Mary had retained a quiet spirit and courage, silently treasuring those things in her heart.

To be a woman of quiet strength in the face of challenges and trials – unperturbed [synonyms: calm, collected, composed, placid, serene, tranquil, unagitated, undisturbed, unflustered, unflurried, unstirred, unvexed, unworried] – is my fervent prayer always.

Friends, are there things in your life now that try to overwhelm you, things that bring disquiet? How do you face such times? I would love for you to share your heart. As for me, I have learned to run to the Lord and take refuge in Him, for He is my strong tower, my sanctuary from the storms of life. He is the One who gives me strength at any time, in any and every season.

May God’s wonderful blessings be upon you today.

This post is linked to Time-warp WifeDomestically Divine, Women Living Well, Women in the Word Wednesday, Raising Homemakers, Walk With Him Wednesday, Proverbs 31 Thursday, Brag on God Friday, Spiritual Sundays, Sharing His Beauty

Spiritually-minded

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(source: Google images)

The Bible mentions two kinds of minds: the spiritual mind and the carnal mind. {Romans 8}

The carnal mind, that is, the mind that is controlled by the sinful nature (Rom. 8, NLT), need not be the openly worldly kind that we know of: adulterous, lustful, covetous, greedy. But it could operate in the subtlest of ways in which a Christian when not watchful, could nevertheless fall prey of.

The mind that is controlled more by the desires of the flesh and feelings tends to be narrow, shallow, and self-centered. The mind that has acquired the habit of thinking the worst in others, of focusing on others’ weaknesses and blemishes and judging them inwardly, and of being unable to see the good in every person, of accepting, forgiving, and loving them despite of – could easily be the mind of a so-called Christian, if he or she does not examine himself deeply and desire and invite the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

The mind that often thinks of itself better than others, too critical and condescending, is proud. Even the mind which easily succumbs to self-pity, thoughts of ill wishes and envy, and feelings of discontent and discouragement brought by these is a mind that tends to sin. This kind of mind holds its owner captive, is unhappy and could not be victorious.

These things could inhabit the heart and mind of a Christian in varying degrees and in many different ways, like when we do things in service to God but secretly expect something in return, or to covertly earn accolade or praise for ourselves – and when we do not see them coming, we get disappointed and hence, we sulk – is not true service at all, but men-pleasing and vainglorious.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every evil practice. (James 3:13-16 NIV)

Those that are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things… So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death… For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still in control by their sinful nature can never please God. (Rom. 8:5-8 NLT).

But the one who continues to walk after the Spirit, being careful not to grieve Him but thinks of those things that please God will live in true liberty and will find life and peace.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Rom. 8:14)

Let us be watchful, therefore, to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). And may this reminder from the Apostle Paul fill our minds and be absorbed in the core of our being – wherever we are, whoever we are with, and in whatever situation:

…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Phil. 4: 8 )

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*(Photos of Hannah in the Eco Park)

I’d like to share this beautiful song (and video) which I love singing to the Lord. I have included the lyrics below. I pray it will bless you, too.

Pour Your Spirit Out

by Shannon Wexelberg

Lord, I seek You

Help me find You

How I need Your touch

Find my dry and broken places

Thirsty for Your love

Lord, forgive me

If I’ve wandered

Far away from You

You are all I’ve ever needed

Come and make me new

Chorus:

Pour Your Spirit out on me

Fall just like the rain

Saturate my thirsty soul

come and fall afresh on me

Fill my cup again 

Heal my heart and make me whole

I need You now

Pour Your Spirit out.

This post is linked to Time-warp WifeDomestically Divine, Women Living Well, Women in the Word Wednesday, Raising Homemakers, Proverbs 31 Thursday, Spiritual Sundays