Restore in a spirit of Gentleness

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Once upon a time, I received some very unpleasant news about a brother from our church. It’s not important what he did, but he was caught and put in jail because of it. I’ll call him Brother John.

My dad knows Brother John quite well, so for months I debated in my head whether or not I should ask my dad about the situation. Eventually, while I was talking to my dad, I just decided to ask him about it because I knew he had to have learned about it by then.

I was very surprised by the way my dad responded. “Brother John needs our love and compassion now, more than ever” he said.

It’s not that my dad is a mean or unkind person. He’s a strong Christian man who takes his faith very seriously and he has always been that way. I’ve always known him to be very strict about keeping the ten commandments and striving to keep up the high standard that God wants from us.

My dad’s reaction that day taught me something very valuable. Though it is very important to strive to keep the commandments of God, we must never judge and condemn others when they fall, but we must treat them in a gentle manner and help them back up. My dad said it like this:

“There’s no use in talking about or dwelling on what he did wrong. That is between Brother John and God. Now it is for us to help him up and out of his troubled state, because today it’s Brother John, but tomorrow it may be you or I.” — My Dad

Like the text says (Galatians 6:1), let us restore one another in a spirit of gentleness and continually consider ourselves, because we all have our faults and shortcomings.

See you soon,

Kelsey

Story of Faithfulness

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Jehoshaphat’s Faith (2 Chronicles 20)

1 It happened after this that the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, from Syria; and they are in Hazazon Tamar” (which is En Gedi). And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek theLord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to ask help from theLord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.

14 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. 15 And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says theLord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.

18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the Lord, worshiping the Lord.

19 Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high.

20 So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in theLord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”

For faith is only real when there is obedience, never without it, and faith only becomes faith in the act of obedience.

– Deitrich Bonhoeffer

Do Good Anyway

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“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. — Matthew 6:1-4 (NKJV)

A Mother’s Good Example

Sometimes witnessing a good deed leaves a lasting impression. Donna Delfino Dugay of Harper Woods, Mich., remembers a day in California when she was 11 years old, and her parents took their six children for a special day at the beach. Donna’s mother brought a picnic lunch — fried chicken and her famous potato salad — and prepared a plate for each of them.

“When I looked up from my plate, my mother was fixing one more plate… She turned away from us and walked over maybe 20 or 30 feet to where there was a man by himself. And he was picking his way through the trashcan. And my mother — I don’t know whether she just put the plate there or whether she touched him gently or whether she said a few words — but I remember him turning to her in a gesture of thankfulness.”

Dugay’s mother came back and sat down at the table. “Years later, Dugay asked her mother if she remembered the incident. “She laughed and said, ‘Not at all.’ But for me, I remember it very well because for me, it was the touchstone for what good deeds became in my life.”

Source: http://www.npr.org/

Be Kind to One Another

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? — Micah 6:8 (ESV)

Today there was a health seminar at one of the churches I visit regularly. It’s series of daily programs that’s being held there for a little over a week. Each day, the program is being filmed and today I got the chance to help out as a “camera-woman”.

I bought a salad at the grocery store as a late breakfast because I had to rush out of the house this morning in order to make it to the church in time. After buying it at a nearby grocery store and walking back to the church, I realized there was no fork included with the salad, so I’d have to find a fork somewhere. I didn’t expect this to be difficult at all, after all I’m at a church and there’s even a full kitchen down the hall.

To make a long story short, let’s just say that, unfortunately, the kitchen crew wasn’t the most friendly about it and actually ended up sending me away empty-handed, even though I could literally see a tray full of plastic forks right there.

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This was one of those unpleasant situations that caused me to take a moment to stop and think my own behavior towards others.
Think about it: Are we fooling ourselves into feeling like we’re good Christians? Are we only focusing on specific commandments while neglecting the most important ones of all, such as loving our neighbors as ourselves? How can we call ourselves followers of Christ if we can’t be kind to the very people He gave his life for?

Today, I’m taking a moment to ask God to replace this heart of stone and give me a heart like His, full of loving kindness towards others. I know only He can do that.

See you soon,

Kelsey 9

Kindness
P.S. I didn’t mention it in my first post about this Fruits of the Spirit series, but I won’t be posting during the weekends because I’m usually not at home during the weekends. Hope you guys don’t mind.

Longsuffering?

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If I’m being honest, I must confess that before beginning to put together today’s post on longsuffering, the fourth fruit of the Spirit, I took the liberty of Googling the word longsuffering. Because to be very honest the word “longsuffering” has always been one of those words that I feel like I know for the most part, but then  there are always those moments when I second guess.

Long-suffering: having or showing patience in spite of troubles, especially those caused by other people.

Synonyms: patient, forbearing, tolerant

Reading this definition reminds me of something someone I know said not to long ago which has stuck with me since then.

“As christians, we shouldn’t be easily offended by the words or actions of others.”

It’s nothing too complex or extraordinary, but it has really stuck with me. I guess because I know I do sometimes feel offended by things people say, whether the intention was good or bad, and then I end up kinda just feeling annoyed by everything they say until my tempestuous storm of emotions subsides.

If this sounds familiar to you at all, join me in asking God to bless with with a more forbearing spirit that is patient with people and circumstances alike.

12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. — Colossians 3: 12 – 13 (KJV)

See you soon,

Kelsey 7

P.S. Sorry for the lack of pictures in today’s post. School was really busy today, and I couldn’t find many good quotes specifically on “longsuffering”.

Peace like a river

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I haven’t always been able to experience God’s peace. There have been many periods in which I would allow myself to dwell on fears and worry. As I think back now, I know it’s a lack of faith that resulted in a lack of peace.

As I’ve grown in faith over the years, I have experienced this supernatural peace in my life. I’m not perfect, there are still times when I feel afraid and I worry. But it’s an amazing thing to be faced with what seems like certain failure, loss or some other terrible thing, and to, in spite of that, feel so calm and assured that things will work out.

Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

The peace of God is a gift that we must actively choose to accept or not. This doesn’t just mean deciding in our heads and that’s it. If we want to experience the peace of God in our lives, it is up to us to, through prayer, to choose to trust God with your thoughts, worries and fears and to allow Him to give you that peace that surpasses all understanding. We need to ask Him to help us to have more faith and to trust in Him, no matter what the situation looks like. Let Jesus give you that great peace so that nothing shall offend you.

Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ. — Sheila Walsh

Joy like a fountain

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Prayer should be the means by which I, at all times, receive all that I need, and, for this reason, be my daily refuge, my daily consolation, my daily joy, my source of rich and inexhaustible joy in life. - John Chrysostom

10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)

The joy of the Lord, spoken of in the Bible, is not just any kind of joy or happiness that people talk about in daily life. It is something that springs forth like a fountain from deep within each heart where Jesus abides. It is something that continues to spring forth, despite our fluctuating emotions and circumstances. Rejoice and give thanks in every situation knowing that you have a blessed assurance in Christ Jesus.

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. – Psalms 63:5-7 (NKJV)

See you soon,

Kelsey9