Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Soul Clings to the Dust

I am loving this week! Why? Because I can stay up as late as I want finishing up my studies and I do not have to get up early in the morning to take the kiddos to school. Usually, I have to get to bed by a certain time so I get enough rest to function the following day. (Yes, I am one of THOSE people.) I also like that I do not have to leave the house if we do not want to, so I can just power through my class assignments. Generally, I take the young ones to school, do some of my work, pick up the kiddos, do more university work, get to extracurricular activities (if possible, when possible), make dinner, then try to finish my daily allotment of studying. I might even get a weekend if I finish everything in a timely manner!

Tuesday, I pre-enrolled three units for over the summer. That is only 1/3 of the load I am currently pulling. The sooner I finish all of this the better! Next semester might be a little gnarly, though. I am planning on enrolling in Principles of Economics: Macro, Business Law I, Personal Wellness, and Diversity in the United States. I’m thinking Personal Wellness and Diversity should not be too demanding but Economics and Business Law might be a bit intense. My advisor suggested a communications class during the summer but I want to get another Early Education class under my belt. I still plan on being a substitute teacher next year. And though the logistics of my Introduction to Education class might be frustrating at times, I am truly finding the information beneficial as I work with children.

Part of Monday was a bit challenging but Tuesday was great. The kids and I are back together again…even though I have lessons I have to complete, it is more like old times when I was schooling them at home. It is so nice. I miss them (and they miss me) when they are gone most of the day. The Little Leaguer has been throwing some monstrous temper tantrums since being enrolled at the school but I believe this week together will help matters. Not to mention The Little Chef is happy as a clam to not have to open a book, answer any questions, or even think about Math or Science at the present. Taking a trip to a museum was mentioned, though. That would be fun! God knows when we need these little breaks and He is always faithful to deliver.

I am enjoying the longer days and sitting at the table (working diligently) as the setting sun cascades through the window, into our dining nook, and warms my face. Admittedly I have to turn the blinds at a certain point but how lovely are the soon to be summer days?! I do not believe it is any secret that summer is my favorite season, by far.

My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word!
26 When I told of my ways, you answered me;
teach me your statutes!
27 Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
28 My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word!
29 Put false ways far from me
and graciously teach me your law!
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set your rules before me.
31 I cling to your testimonies, O LORD;
let me not be put to shame!
32 I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart!
(Psalm 119:25-32. ESV.)

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

He Will Not Let Us Settle for Wonderful and Happy Thoughts of Self

I work hard. I swear I do. I do not drive and sit in a classroom for full time college credit but I do work on my online classes for four courses totaling 12 units. The work load is heavy. I made the decision many years ago to be a stay at home mom. I would not have traded that for anything! Not even for money in my pocket. But now my children are older and I feel it is time for me to begin preparing for “empty nest”. Unfortunately, it is a juggling act and sometimes I drop a ball or two. I cannot please everyone (or some days “anyone”) and as I’m sure you can imagine, that ruffles some feathers and warrants disgruntled individuals when my service is lacking. But I try and that is what matters, right?

It is when I “drop a ball or two” that causes me to re-evaluate things. Is it worth it? Yes, I believe so. When all of our kiddos are grown, I want to be able to help each of them from time to time if they need a little assistance. I desire to have a few bucks in my pocket down the road. I would like for hubs to retire one day if he wishes. I covet the freedom that comes from depending on myself alone for anything and everything. Does that sound selfish or unbiblical?

I am thankful for my “seasonal” job position while I go to school full time for my degree. (I say “seasonal” because I do not work full time or even part time. I work occasionally…I’m “on-call”.) But, half of that money goes to “pay bills” so that does not leave much for me to put into savings (for a “rainy day” or to pay back my loan), pay for much of anything, etc. This coming “pay day” should be the best one yet, though.

Sometimes I feel like I am fighting an uphill battle. But there are many others whose “battles” are far worse. There are single mothers who struggle just to make ends meet day to day. The weight of providing a home, food, clothing, and shelter for their children falls solely on them. (I have had the pleasure of knowing two wonderful ladies recently. One who just finished law school…she was determined and made it to her finish line! Now, her children will have a better life because of her persistence. The second is about to go back to school.) There are women in other countries (and even our own) who are forbidden to get an education. They will always have to depend on someone else for necessities. And there are cultures, nations, races who are not treated equally, although that is how each of us were created…equal…to glorify God.

God’s God-centered Love Is the Greatest Love for Us
Why does God remind us over and over that he makes much of us in a way that is designed ultimately to make much of him?

The answer is this: Loving us this way is a greater love. God’s love for us, that makes much of us for his glory, is a greater love than if he ended by making us our greatest treasure, rather than himself. Making himself our end is a greater love than making us his end. The reason this is greater love is that self, no matter how glorified by God (Romans 8:30), will never satisfy a heart that is made for God.

God loves his people infinitely. He sent his Son to die that he might have us, and that we might have him (1 Peter 3:18). He will not let us settle for wonderful and happy thoughts of self. Not even a saved, glorified self. He will not let our glory, which he himself creates and delights in, replace his glory as our supreme treasure. That would not be love.

We are loved by God. We are precious to God, and the greatest gift he has for us is to not let our preciousness become our god. God will be our God. God alone, forever. And this is infinite love.

When we experience this love deeply—when we are compelled by this love in everything—God is greatly glorified.
(By John Piper. ©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/god-loves-us-more-when-he-loves-us-for-his-glory)

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Jesus Prays for All Believers

I think it is safe to say, “My brain is fried!”

This semester is turning out to be a bit more difficult than I originally thought. I do not want to even do my algebra work. I find myself saying, “Last semester was not that bad!” but then hubs reminds me, no, last semester was “terrible” too. My poor family is just not used to anything hogging up my time. And, I have “no life”. But, hopefully it will be worth it in the end. This coming week is Spring Break for the kiddos so we will get to spend a lot of time together (just like the good ol’ days)… while I work on my school work.

Loved ones are expecting their second child and dear friends of ours are expecting their third. I find myself asking, “Could I go for a fifth?” But the answer comes quickly and with a resounding, “No!” I have been through the teenage years twice, already, and have two more times coming up soon! I am thinking I will be all burnt out by the end of it. (I REALLY have respect for parents with five, six, seven, plus kiddos!)

I always thought I was going to be a great parent for teenagers. Unfortunately, I heard, “I hate you,” and “You can’t tell me what to do!” more times than I would like to admit…three or four too many times. It broke my heart. So, it seems I am not very good at it…but I did try my very best! And, I will continue to do so…by the Book. (By Book I mean God’s Word, of course.)

Parenting is a blessing, a skill, and something that can always be improved upon. I think the pastor’s wife is going to do a ladies group study on a parenting book (after she finishes the book she is currently working though) so I’ll most likely be joining that! (A little extra prep for the looming teenage years never hurt anyone.)

And, dog gone it, may I just say we watched a (rather intense) movie tonight as a family. (The flick was actually intended just to be for hubs but we all ended up getting sucked into it.) It was the second movie adaptation in a three book series --- I do not even think I watched the entire first one --- but there was a cliff hanger at the end (of course) and now we are in suspense. Darn you, Hollywood!

Anyway, this post is kind of all over the place but that is how this vapor of a life is sometimes…moderate chaos.

Jesus Prays for All Believers
"I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17:20-26 ESV)

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Simple Acts of Kindness: Give It a Try

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What Shall a Man Give in Return for His Soul

Got Jealousy?

I get jealous, I really do. I have to be mindful of the stuff I watch, etc. because sometimes it gets me green with envy. Why? Someone might see something on television or the internet and say to me, “Wow, that person is really talented!” Yeah, I have talent too but I do not get to work on it day and night and become a sensation! …Do I sound bitter? I am actually thankful for all that I have. I will be honest though, like I mentioned above, at times I wrestle with being envious.

You Want a Picture with Me?!

I was in a show (many moons ago) that was actually very popular in Asia. (It was a live, theater show…with a bit of "Beauty and the Beast", “The Lion King”, and other productions in it) And, as cast members we would get stopped while out in public and asked for pictures and our autograph. I remember thinking, “Me? You want a picture with me? I’m nobody. One day you are going to look back on that picture and say to yourself, ‘Who was that?!’”

What is My Point?

At the end of the day, I sit and reflect on what my life was like then and how it is now. Would I trade what I have, currently, for that life I left behind? No. I would not. Sure, I miss the “good ol’ days” but I was walking in the flesh at that time. These days, I walk in the Spirit…and that (plus my family) is worth so much more to me than anything else.
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (Matthew 16:26. ESV.)

I suppose I should be thankful for that glimpse I was afforded. I will never wonder, “What if.” I got to experience what it is like to have “fans”. And it was fun. It was a great “place” (or time) to visit… But I would not want to live there.

John Piper stated the following:
Jesus said, "What will it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul? For what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26). If the soul is lost, the whole person is lost. And there is no way to negotiate to get it back. When this war against the soul is over, it's over. There is a great gulf fixed and none can cross one way or the other—from heaven or from hell (Luke 16:26). If the anti-soul forces win this war, the soul is lost forever.

So this is one of the great issues in the world. It affects everybody without exception. And it affects everybody forever. And it affects everybody forever in an ultimately serious way. And yet our world does not give serious attention to it. There is no column in the newspaper, there is no public service announcement on the radio, there is no soundbite on television, there is no values-clarification course in our schools, there is no government agency or even a welfare pamphlet that counsels us how to wage war for the eternal life of our souls. We are told how to wage war against AIDS; against sunstroke; against mosquitoes; against drunk driving and pollen and depression and rape and fire and theft and cholesterol and dandelions. But the world we live in gives no counsel on how to fight for the eternal life of the soul.

Our modern world is massively preoccupied with the inconsequential. We are so oblivious as a culture to what will one day seem so obvious that we will call ourselves blind for not seeing it—namely, the eternal well-being of the soul and its relation to God. Is it any wonder that Peter begins this second section of his letter the same way he did the first one by calling us "aliens and strangers" (cf. 1:1)?
(By John Piper. ©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/the-war-against-the-soul-and-the-glory-of-god)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Devote Yourself to Teaching

Now that I am back in writing mode, it is difficult to concentrate on much else...(i.e. school work!) Today and tomorrow I have been called in to work. I am substitute teaching third grade for a wonderful lady who is getting married over the weekend. And her class is fabulous! Hubs and I got to talking about substitute teachers a couple days ago. I certainly remember some of mine. One, for instance, used to sit and watch television the entire class time. He would tell us as long as we kept the noise down we could have social time. That is not the type of substitute I am! The instructors leave for me their lesson plans and I literally fill in for them. I introduce new material, review the stuff they have already covered, administer tests and quizzes, grade papers, enter grades into the record book, etc. It is my goal to keep things as "normal" as possible for the students so that hopefully the transition between myself and their teacher is relatively seamless. That is my goal, anyway. In a sense I feel like a grandparent. I get to visit with the children and then turn them back over. It is fun --- of course I get those who like to test the envelope --- but overall it is a great experience.

I want to mention, the school for which I sub is AWESOME! As I study Education (I'm currently in an Early Education class) I come to really appreciate all that the school offers its students and their families. Truly, these kiddos are blessed! There is so much with which schools and their staff have to contend. Funds for public school are mainly received from property taxes. "Tracking" labels children and ends up influencing their success. There is an education gap that varies from culture to culture represented in each school. But the one where I sub, has none of that! It is beautifully diverse! No tracking. The education is fair across the board.

And, I have to say, teachers (in general) are amazing! I get the privilege of walking in their shoes in the classroom, interacting with students...trying to inspire them and light a fire that will encourage them to be life long learners. But full time teachers have such a large variety of learners it is tough to reach all of them according to how each one best receives and processes information. Further, it is not just about the students (as I feel it should be), there are standardized tests to which to cater, the educational philosophy of the school, the various intelligences, the expectations of the parents, the politics of the school district. The list of what is stacked up against teachers goes on and on. Yet, they work long hours for little pay. Incredible!


If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
(1 Timothy 4:6-16 ESV)

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

And the Peace of God Will Guard Your Hearts

Day three of “Spring Break” and I still have not completed any school work. (This is going to be a problem when the deadlines roll around in a few days!) I did get a little bit of house cleaning done but the floors are screaming for a vacuuming and mopping! The back door is cracked a tad (so the Chihuahua’s can come and go as they please…otherwise I’d be letting them in and out every few minutes) and the crisp spring breeze is trickling through. I have scented wax warming, creating light, lovely smells. I can hear the owls outside making their calls (similar to the ones I used to hear outside our house when I was a very young child). I should be doing my Algebra assignments, but I really do not want to do them. The repair man is coming by to fix the stove (which has not been working for months due to an important part that went bad…the home warranty company has been trying to resolve the issue).

Our old white boxer is laid out on the shag rug. It seems to be his favorite in his old age…he rarely leaves it. Our old pug has taken up residence on the couch. It’s a beautiful day outside. God is good…all the time. The stresses of this vapor of a life seem far away. Come 1:30 p.m. the pace of the day is going to increase, though, until the sun disappears and the hours reach close to midnight. Tomorrow and the day following, I have been called into work. I should soak up the remaining moments of relaxation before 1:30 rolls around and the current of the day whisks me away.

It is Lent. I’ve never really done anything for Ash Wednesday or Lent. The church where I grew up used to make mention of it and all but it never really pierced to my core. Resurrection Sunday, on the other hand, has gone straight to my heart. I rarely get up early in the morning for anything…but I LOVE attending sunrise service on Easter! There is just something about watching the light slowly fill the sky and listening to the events of that morning so long ago. When the ladies came to the tomb but the massive boulder had been moved and Jesus was gone. All that remained was the shroud in which His body had laid and an angel of the Lord to tell them Christ had risen. I suppose that does not seem like much to someone who does not celebrate Jesus or does not identify with Him. But for me, those brief moments of sunrise service are nothing short of breath taking, awesome, heart pounding, life changing, awe inspiring…not because of the service itself or the wonderful people who put it all together. Rather, in recognition of a man, the Son of God, what He stood for, Who He represented, Who He was, Who He glorified and Who we glorify in our existence. My words are so inadequate, so small and insignificant in comparison to the point I am trying to make…the One it is all about. <--(And to make matters worse I just ended that sentence in a preposition!)
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7 ESV)

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Life I Now Live, I Live by Faith

I’m not going to lie. Yesterday was a little bit of a mentally and emotionally exhausting day. We’ve been working on something, the education of one of our kiddos, and yesterday there was a meeting. Today, there is yet another meeting. We want to do what is best and get it right. Sometimes I wish this life could just move smoothly and transition from one season to the next without a hitch. Life is but a vapor. It’s too short to be serious all the time or even part of the time…hence the reason I smile often and laugh as much as possible. The bumps in the road will drag you down if you let them. Don’t let them! Be serious only seasonally.

This week is SUPPOSED to be my spring break from school. Some of my instructors didn’t get the memo. So, it’s nearly business as usual on that level. Next week the young bloods get their spring break so at least I can sleep in a little bit but my classes will be back into full swing. Oh well. Summer is coming and I only plan on taking one class during the summer. Hopefully it will not be too intense.

God’s word says He only gives us what we can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). Well, I do not feel any of it is in my own strength but in Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). Further, God’s word says His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). At the end of day, I can feel all of those things. In the midst of questions and seeking answers, however, it is draining. Working out generally clears my head and leaves me feeling amped…but I have not had time to workout. Studying God’s word and writing help me get refocused, too.

As I mentioned above, we’ve been addressing the academics of one of our kiddos and I am glad I am taking an education class this semester (it’s actually an Early Education class). It is helping me understand children and how they learn, in general, as we navigate unfamiliar waters. I want my children (and all children for that matter) to be successful. I truly believe there are as many different ways to learn as there are people. It is difficult for schools to maintain a “standard” because “one size” does not “fit all”.

I was reading how there is talk about the United States (U.S.) having the worst education for children. How we score low compared to other countries. Yet, on higher levels (say, university) everything balances out…everywhere is equal or close enough. In fact, many countries send adolescents to the U.S. for college. (When I attended Oklahoma City University --- many moons ago --- I had (at one time) two roommates from Japan and one from Indonesia. My neighbors were from Europe. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. The students at that school were very diverse in that sense.) So I have peace in that despite the levels on which children are placed or perceived to operate in their early years (elementary and middle school), things ultimately will pan out as they get older and mature.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (Galatians 2:20, 21 ESV)

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Because You Have Made the Lord Your Dwelling Place—

I love starting out the day in God’s word. Given I am back to being a poor college student again, I acknowledge I have not been doing a very good job balancing time in the scriptures and hours working on school work. I have not even been doing a very decent job at spending time with my family, which generally makes me ask myself if I am doing the right thing. It feels “right”. But sometimes something wrong can feel “right” and something “right” can feel so “wrong”. I was going to wait until my kiddos were graduates before proceeding to law school, however I was speaking to a gal a few days ago who just completed law school and she was able to do it part time. And, financial aid will still cover it, part time. Yes! That seems the way to go for me as well. That way, I won’t have to start paying back my student loan between completing my Bachelor’s Degree and law school. I will not have to wait additional years to begin law school, I’ll be able to do so directly following my Bachelor’s Degree. And, I will be able to join the work force again, sooner…perhaps when my young ones are graduates. That would shave off three years of my original time frame. Then, I would be in a better position to assist them as they leave home, establish their own household, work, go to school, etc… not to mention prepare for when hubs is ready to retire, and to help out our older children who are already out on their own trying to make their way in this world.

The Army Kid asked me to send a bible. I guess the one provided was not quite working out. I have a few so I sent one that was here at the house until I can get one more customized, that will be a better fit. There are so many layouts from which to choose. The Little Chef and Little Leaguer have “Adventure” bibles. I have a John MacArthur Study Bible, a “read the bible in a year” bible, a (1985) “Good News” bible (I received from my church when I was in 3rd grade), among others.

I have been dwelling a lot lately on “world issues”, I guess you could say. I’m not sure how else to describe them. Stuff like racism, hunger, slavery, clean water, advocacy, etc. The Matthew West song, “Do Something” has been my “anthem” the last week or so. I was a court appointed child advocate for six years and once I finish school, pass the bar (hopefully on the first attempt!), and become an attorney I want to serve the children in dependency court. It is the same branch in which I was an advocate for abused and neglected children in foster care. I will never do family court. And though I find criminal court highly interesting, I doubt I would ever do that branch either. I have to say, I’ve considered going into forensic Science (I love Science and I’m pretty good at it) but crime scenes mean the event is a “done deal”. I want to try and intervene before it gets that far. Does that make sense? And, everything I have done thus far has been working with kiddos --- dance teacher, advocate, substitute teacher --- which is where I feel the most useful.


For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday....

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
(Psalm 91:3-6, 9-13 ESV)

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Do Something


"Do Something" by Matthew West

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Let Love be Genuine: Iron Sharpening Iron

I have not written for pleasure in a while (largely due to school work) but I have been thinking a lot. In the first ladies’ bible study I attended (back around 2006-2008). A large focus was placed on “iron sharpening iron”. The vast majority of this I really liked! We were there for each other. We made little “care packages” for one another when it was needed. We listened to each other and prayed with and for one another. The one element that was a little tricky, however, was when we had to go to one of the ladies who was struggling with sin and talk to her about it. Even worse was when I was the one getting the “talking to”. But that is how it is. We sin. I sin. And sometimes it falls on others to slap me out of it. That group has long been disbanded but I sure do miss those ladies! (I love you!)

Friday in the bible study I currently attend, someone mentioned “judging others”. And the pastor replied with what I too believe to be true. He said as believers, we are called to hold each other accountable. I see it as not “judging” but instead “iron sharpening iron”.
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)
Yet, I understand if not done correctly or if one side or the other is prideful about it, the whole thing can (and will) get very ugly. Although, if done as the bible decrees, WITH GRACE (on both ends) and without hypocrisy, then your “brother will be gained” (Matthew 18:15). I love it when I receive lifelong “brothers” (and “sisters”) even distance cannot keep us apart.

I have grown by leaps and bounds twice in my walk with Christ. (Notice I did not say “walking in the flesh”!) Both times included a wonderful group of people. The first was my youth group at First United Methodist Church, FL. They were AMAZING! And my former youth pastor --- yes, I am still in contact with him all these (darn near 20 years) later --- has told me that group was like a perfect storm. He has since not seen any that come close to what we had. I feel it was greatly the “iron sharpening iron” quality to the crew. The support system was beyond words! We fellowshipped together, laughed together, cried together (Romans 12:15), sometimes got in trouble together. We had scavenger hunts, beach trips, sang songs (the lyrics to which I will NEVER forget because the feeling was SO intense as we worshipped as a team), played goofy games, and listened to the college kids (who returned as “counselors”) share their adventures beyond high school with us. (Former FUMC youth, I love you all!)

The second time was with the ladies’ bible study I mentioned above (and while reading and listening to John Piper).

I covet those deep relationships. Not shallow, simplistic ones that barely scratch the surface. Sure, at times it is messy crawling through the trenches with people, but THAT is where I want to be! I’m not looking for a “fair-weather friend”. Nor am I interested in being one to somebody else. Further, I am looking forward to the next time God grows me in a major way!

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Romans 12:9-21 ESV)

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