Tag Archives: gentleness

Proverbs 24-25; Psalm 41; 1 Thessalonians 2

3It takes wisdom to have a good family.

It takes understanding to make it strong.

4It takes knowledge to fill a home

with rare and beautiful treasures. Proverbs 24:3-4 (ICB)

As a mother my desire is to have a great relationship with my kids. I want my home to be a place of safety, full of wonderful things and even better memories. I want my kids to be connected at the heart with me, their Daddo, each other. And, most importantly I want them to love Jesus with all their being.

There are many days I feel like a failure in all this; days when my bad mommy moments vastly outweigh the good ones. I am probably my own worst critic. It’s probably better than I sometimes think it is. I choose to hold on to the hope that my kids remember more of the positive moments, the fun times, and forget the times I’ve lost my patience and my self-control went the way of the dodo.

28A person who does not control himself

is like a city whose walls have been broken down. Proverbs 25:28 (ICB)

When I lose self-control, yell, scream, lecture, spank…I immediately witness the tiniest thread of connection my daughters and I have in that moment disintegrate like a hiker walking through a spider web stretched across the trail. Even if my calm, steady voice paired with “the look” isn’t working to get their attention, the tension-filled, impatient, MOM voice and ugly face, turns them away from me even faster.

7But we were very gentle with you. We were like a mother caring for her little children. 8Because we loved you, we were happy to share God’s Good News with you. But not only that, we were also happy to share even our own lives with you. 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 (ICB)

I don’t want to go through life feeling like I had a good day simply because I didn’t make front page news. I want to know that my family had a good day because I was gentle, caring, I was patient and full of self-control, even if my kids weren’t. I want them to experience my love first hand, not just hear the words come from my mouth. I want to show them who Christ is through my example. I want my family to be happy that we share our lives together. I want my house to be filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

On Sunday, I actually had it together. I had some alone time, with God (an important key), and then miraculously got everyone dressed, fed and out the door on the way to church 10 minutes early. Once I got us all belted in and we were on the road, I looked in the rear view mirror at my oldest and asked her how the morning was. She thought for a moment and told me it was a good morning. I asked her why. She said, “Because, we didn’t fight.”

The treasure chest filled up a little bit more…

Yesappa, Thank You for showing me how it can be when I rely on Your wisdom and understanding to build my family up and fill my home. Help me in those moments that I struggle to see what You see. Help me love my kids more like You love them. Help me discipline like You discipline Your children. Give me strength to choose self-control and patience, and make me into a gentle mother. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie

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Filed under 1 Thessalonians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs, Psalms

Jeremiah 17-19; I Timothy 6

Jeremiah 18:5, 6 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!”

I have never tried to sculpt pottery, but I acquired an interesting set of handmade and individually painted pieces made by a Bulgarian master potter. They have rough, terra cotta bases with smooth, shiny harvest-gold backgrounds and earthy, green and brown images baked into them by the artist’s whim. Each piece is unique in its purpose – a large fat-bellied pitcher for water, a long-neck wine carafe capped with a lady’s delicate face; a half dozen mugs with thumbprint handles to sip from Bohemian crowns of funny-faced urchins; large, scooped out bowls designed with separated rings of non-repeating swirls, lines, and scalloped edges; and heavy plates emblazoned with proud peacocks.

How long it took the potter to produce each of these pieces, I wonder sometimes. And how many pieces were started, flattened, and reshaped on the potter’s wheel before placed in the fire for hardening? How many others were found cracked and thrown in the scrap heap upon inspection?

Like pottery, says the Lord, we are pliable in His hands. He is able to shape us through our family of origin, significant events, daily trials and temptations, revelation through His word, and divine intervention. As His wheel turns and His hands smooth and etch His unique design in each of us, we can yield eagerly to His touch or become rigid and in danger of breaking. Jeremiah 19:11 “Even so I will break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter’s vessel, which cannot be made whole again…”

How can we become His masterpiece, vessels of honor, and how will we avoid being dashed into pieces, for which there is no superglue or fixing us in the end?  I Timothy 6:11 “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” As we trust Him and hope in Him, the Lord’s creative Spirit spins into our lives righteousness and godliness, and as we sway to His touch, He presses down a sturdy base of faith, whirls rings of patience, and gently hollows out the inside, deep and wide for filling with His love.

Then we will be like yet another image of beauty and strength produced by the Lord’s care. Jeremiah 17:7, 8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”

Fashion me each day with Your skillful hand, Oh, Lord!

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Daniel 5,6,7; Titus 3

Daniel is truly to be admired. He is a strong example of how to live in a society that is not in sync with our beliefs. He reminds me of Joseph in that he is able to not just survive but succeed in such a society. I love how he quietly goes about doing what is right, without hoopla or fanfare. Without trying to fight a losing battle explaining to everyone else why what they are doing is wrong. He simply does what is right and good, and strives for excellence in everything he does. He doesn’t compromise his values to fit in, and he gains the respect of many. King Nebuchadnezzar even appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners. Imagine having that job!!  Darius appointed him as one of the top three administrators, and was about to make him the chief ruler. Those that were envious of him did try to get him killed, but he stood firm and God saved him in the lion’s den. Daniel’s time had not yet come; there was more for him to do.  By surviving he was able to be an even more powerful witness for God, influencing an entire nation.

Daniel didn’t have the opportunity to read the Apostle Paul’s instruction to Titus, but as a true man of God he exhibited the same characteristics that Paul described

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.  […] And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.  (Titus 3:1-2, 8-9 (NIV))

Daniel is an inspiration to us all. May we all learn to stand firm in our faith, and yet be peaceable, considerate, and always gentle toward everyone, slandering no one. May we avoid foolish controversies and arguments and instead strive to do what is excellent and profitable for everyone. Just think of the impact that each one of us has the power to make!

suegraff

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Joshua 9; Psalm140,141; Jerimiah 3; Matthew 17

O Lord, I call to you; come quickly to me.

Hear my voice when I call to you.

May my prayer be set before you like incense;

may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice,

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;

Keep watch over the door of my lips.

Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil,

to take part in wicked deeds

with men who are evildoers;

let me not eat of their delicacies.

Psalm 141:1-4

I’ve not ever thought about how many words I speak in a day, I do however know that I type several words per day.  Whether coming from the lips or from the hands, words are powerful tools, and if the heart is not in a right place,  words become weapons of mass destruction.  Last time I checked their were no government agencies or the military coming into our homes to check for WMD’s, however if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a verbal attack or the center of someones gossip session, then you might not think this as farfetched as it sounds.  Can’t you just imagine how that would play out.  One day there’s a knock at your door and you are told that someone has turn you in, your crime; using words as weapons and you were now considered a threat to others.  Sounds like a bad movie doesn’t it?

As bad as it is to be talked about or viciously spewed upon by an inconsiderate verbal tyrant, I dare say it would be worse to be the one who is guilty of spreading malicious gossip or humiliating  someone in public.  I confess I am one to say snippy remarks while driving down the road, someone cuts me off or does something stupid while operating a vehicle, these things are often overheard by my teens who are riding in the car with me.  Of course I was not aware of how bad I sounded until I rode in the car with my teenage son and he was driving.  Of course I gently reminded him to be kind behind the wheel and he gently reminded me that he’s heard worse from me.  Hummm…oh the joys of be convicted by your children.

So praying to God to set a guard over my mouth seems quite logical to me.  To watch over the door of my lips…I know it’s wrong to add words to the Bible but I really think David should have added; “and grasp thy tongue with your finger tips”.  Oh well…that does get covered in the book of James.  In fact not only should I recite this Psalm every morning, I should have it tattooed on the inside of my eyelids.

Daily I witness hundreds of people writing words on social media sites and leaving comments on blogs; sometimes those words are not kind, sometimes those words are just plain ugly and I wonder, do those people know that other people can see what they write, not only that but what they write on the internet stays there forever?  Kind of like those cave man drawings…yeah, imagine that.  Your words might still be there for all to read centuries from now.

Let my heart not be drawn into what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evil doers.   So you think  that would mean the next time your circle of friends start to gossip you;  a) join in;  b) keep quite; or  c) gently rebuke and change the subject.  Let me not eat of their delicacies. If this is hard to follow through with, let me share the wisdom I always gave my children…If your talking about someone who is not there and the things being said would not be said face to face; then it’s gossip.  And, if you participate or allow it most likely you will end up with mud on your face, because the person being talked about will always find out,  usually they are told by one of the very same people who was knee deep in the gossip themselves.  Funny how that works.  Secondly, those people you are with will talk about you as soon as you’re not around, so you best find new friends.

Of course Thumper’s mama in the movie Bambie had the best advice of all; “If you don’t have anything nice to say; don’t say nothin at all!”

For me; I also have to remember that thoughts are words from my heart and thinking it is no different that saying it…would you not agree?   So, my prayer every morning in addition to the Psalm;

Father prepare my heart for this day, soften my heart so that it’s tender and kind.  Protect my thoughts and let my words be kind and encouraging to all.  Give me wisdom and courage to stand firm.  Let my words and actions glorify you. Amen

Cindi

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Philippians 1 – 4

Scripture

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe, as you hold on to the word of life.” Philippians 2:14-16a NIV

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:4,5 NIV

“I can do everything through Him, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 NIV

Observation

My favorite book of the Bible, with so much of it underlined in mine.  Like my last post on Romans 8, it was so very hard to choose the best verse(s) to focus on.  Imitating Christ, Shining as Stars, Pressing on Toward the Goal are 3 of the titled sections in this book. So very convicting, as I compare my normal human nature to that of the sinless nature of Jesus.

Application

It’s so easy to complain. I, who have so many blessings, can so easily fall prey to a bitter and complaining spirit. 1) “The line at the store was so long and the cashier was so slow.” 2) “The kids take up so much of my energy.” 3) “I’m the only one around here who cleans up this place.” 4) “My kitchen isn’t big enough.” 5) “There is so much laundry to do.” etc, etc, etc….

For each of these complaints, there is actually a blessing on the flipside. 1)We have money to be able to go to the grocery store and buy plenty of food for our family. 2)We are so blessed with 5 healthy, well-behaved children. 3)We have a house to live in. 4)We have a kitchen with running water, an electric stove, dishwasher and refrigerator. 5)We have a washing machine and dryer and our clothing drawers are full.

The normal US household compared with the majority of people in this world is more than blessed with convenience, money, and health and in all actually excess of everything! Really, what do I have to complain about?

When was the last time I portrayed a consistent example of “shining like a star” or “rejoicing in the Lord always” or “letting my gentleness be evident” to my husband and children?

Why then is this book of Philippians my favorite, if it shows me all my faults? Because it also gives hope! Philippians 4:7 says that if we are in communion with God, that His peace “which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Chapter 4, verse 13 says that our strength comes through Him, which enables us to do all things. Also in chapter 4, verse 13 we read that “God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

So my application is  to train my mind, with the help of Christ of course, to focus on the positive in my daily situations and not the negative, which just breeds more and more negativity.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things… And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8,9b

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

I have so much to be thankful about. So many blessings to count, but yet so often I focus on what I think I have the right to complain about. Please forgive my ungratitude. You are so good to me! Please, by Your strength alone, give me a grateful and uncomplaining spirit and help me to look on the blessing flip-side, when I feel tempted to complain. Thank you for the amazing and wonderful example that we have in Your Son, Jesus Christ.

In His glorious name,

Amen

Beckie (look2thehills)

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