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Mon, Apr. 25th, 2005, 09:01 am
lil_blue_monkey: An Optomistic Waiting

Romans 2:7

to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life

I learned this Fruit as “Patience”, but most Bibles list it as “Longsuffering”, so I will investigate the meaning of both today.

Today’s society is fast paces, resulting in a lot of very high-strung people. Patience is not a virtue of many in this day and age. But, it is an attitude we all should desire to reflect in our lives (1 Corinthians 3:4).

My favorite example of patience in everyday life is a friend of mine. Philip had been dating his girlfriend Julie since we were sophomores in highschool. And, out of no where, as Juniors, Philip’s family moved to Florida. It was devastating to both of them. But, teenaged life goes on. Several months after the move, they both starting seeing other people. A year later, as a seniors, Philip’s family suddenly moved back to the area! While they remained friends, Julie was happily dating someone else. Philip asked her out on a date at least once every week. But every time, her answer was “no”.

When Philip graduated and went to college, they continued their friendship, but both wanted to date. Philip quit asking, for fear of making Julie mad and pushing her away. After some coaxing from friends, Philip finally asked her to go to dinner with him – it was 2 years after he moved back, and she had just broken up with her boyfriend. And her answer? “Yes”! They are now happily married with a handsome son!

Philip had great patience I only wish I had. He knew what was right for him and prayed for guidance on how to obtain it. Then he decided to wait it out. His patience wasn’t a passive acceptance of the inevitable, but an active response to the opposition he faced – it took every ounce of his physical and emotional strength to wait for her.

Patience is listed as a characteristic of true love (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). And God also implores us to be patient with others, especially when things aren’t going our way (Romans 5:3-5). True patience is getting under a burden or affliction and turning it into glory that we show to others as a testament to God’s will and grace (Ephesians 4:1-3).

Longsuffering, on the other hand, is usually associated only with God. Longsuffering includes not only patience, but also endurance, steadfastness and forbearance. And only God can truly be completely longsuffering because He alone is “slow to anger” (Psalms 86:15, Joel 2:13). But, all believers can become longsuffering through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Pray, believe and remember to be patient with all God creatures.

Fri, Apr. 22nd, 2005, 09:51 am
lil_blue_monkey: A Right Relationship

Romans 5:1-2

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Also through Him, we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

For me, the hardest Fruit of the Spirit to obtain has been true spiritual peace. I worry. I worry a lot. I worry about how I’m living my life for God (am I doing all that I can, am I being a good representative to the rest of the world). I worry about school (am I studying enough, am I going to pass that test I have on Monday). I worry about my family (is everyone in good health, am I doing enough to help them with they aren’t). I worry about how I’m raising my daughter (am I a good example for her, am I feeding her enough, is she sick, is she happy – this list could go on all day!). And, lately, I’ve started worrying that I’ll never find true love.

And all this worry leads to a whole bunch of fears and anxiety – neither of which are good for a person’s heart or mind. This is a scary, scary world we’re living in and there’s not a whole lot we can do about it besides believe. We must believe in God and give our worries up to Him – He can take care of them much better than we ever could.

Peace isn’t only a part of the Fruits of the Spirit, it is also part of the “whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11, 13). Believers receive peace from God as a virtue of holy living and a protection from evil.

Throughout the Bible, peace is described as the result of having a right relationship with God and others (Romans 5:1-2). It transcends all logic and rational (Philippians 4:7). Spiritual peace is a sense of well-being and fulfillment that comes from God and is dependent on His presence alone (Galatians 5:22).

Inner spiritual peace can be experienced by any believer who walks in the Spirit. You can be completely surrounded by turmoil and strife and still experience true spiritual peace. True “peace of God” protects the hearts and minds of believers from worry, fear and anxiety.

Thu, Apr. 21st, 2005, 08:32 am
lil_blue_monkey: The Reward of Walking in Faith

Psalm 51:8, 12

Let me hear joy and gladness;
Let the bones You have crushed rejoice.

Restore the joy of Your salvation to me,
And give me a willing spirit.

Joy is one of the best feelings a person can experience. And, as someone once said, a smile is contagious – so, if you are filled with joy, you will unwillingly spread that joy to others. Just look at David’s words in Psalm 51 – he is so overcome with joy that he wants to share this feeling with others.

Joy comes from God as a result of faith and obedience (John 5:10-11, Romans 15:13). But sin can take it away. The abundance of joy in a believer’s life is directly connected to the intimacy and dedication of their walk. And this spirit-filled believer will be able to continue to rejoice even when trouble presents itself (James 1:2-3).

Biblical joy is different from earthly pleasures that are bound to circumstances. The purpose of Biblical joy is to bring blessings. It allows us to enjoy everything that God has given us (health, family, friends, etc). And, like David, once you experience true, Biblical joy, you are hard-pressed not to share it with others!

Wed, Apr. 20th, 2005, 08:41 am
lil_blue_monkey: An Unconditional Devotion to Others

1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13

Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

“Love” is a word I think is used all too often with the wrong connotations in today’s culture. Some people tell their girlfriends/boyfriends they “love” them to get sex. Sometimes, its for money. And there are kids who, by the time they’re 18, have told 3 or 4 girlfriends/boyfriends that they “love” them! But the one that makes me laugh the most is the use of the word “love” in reference to products on the market (like: I “love” my PlayStation 2).

So, in this society inundated with the misuse of the word “love”, what really is true Christian love? What did God mean for it to be? According to 1 John 3:17, love isn’t just an outward behavior, it is an inner attitude. Paul goes into the meaning of love at great lengths in 1 Corinthians 13. He calls it the “greatest gift” that can be given or received.

To tell you the truth, I know that I have loved a man at least once in a romantic relationship, but I am not sure I have ever received that love back. But I do know this, I do truly love my best friend. He just recently moved to Texas and we don’t really get to see each other anymore. But every time we do, we always say goodbye by saying “Be good. I love you.” I don’t think I really knew the full meaning of that until our first disagreement over 2 years ago. Actually, it’s the only disagreement we’ve ever had. You might call it a fight, but there were no heated words, and it was very short-lived. I think I might have been upset for about 20 seconds before we just moved on. See, he was truthful and honest with me about something he’d done when he knew it would hurt me to know. But it would have destroyed both of us if he didn’t say anything and I found out later from someone else. And another aspect of our love showed up after I became a single parent. He has been a great source of encouragement on bad days and has been extremely unselfish, making calls and trips to see us when I know he hasn’t really had the time.

And that’s exactly what love should be – an unselfish, loyal concern for the well-being of another. It is eternal, permanent, and unconditional. You can’t just take it back or stop feeling it. Without love, all the other gifts of the Spirit are worthless.

Tue, Apr. 19th, 2005, 08:27 am
lil_blue_monkey: Are they there for decoration, or can I eat them?

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

A few years ago I worked in our church’s Sunday School program with the kids. All the kids had to memorize the nine Fruits of the Spirit. After a month or so, we made fruit costumes for them and they did a little play for the adults in “big church” (they looked like a Fruit of the Loom commercial). But what are the Fruits of the Spirit?

These 9 fruits (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) are godly attributes of those who “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16). Followers receive these blessings from God and reflect them to all people around them.

More than just godly attributes, they are evidence of salvation and genuine work of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 7:17). They are the way to see the Holy Spirit at work in a believer’s life – the believer becomes more and more like Christ, portraying more of these qualities.

These attributes also affect a believer’s relationships. As a relationship is built, the believer reflects patience, kindness and goodness. As the relationship develops, they display unselfish love, true joy and lasting peace. And, finally, as their relationships mature, they discover inner strength in faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Through the next 9 entries, we will be exploring the true meaning of each Fruit of the Spirit.

Mon, Apr. 18th, 2005, 09:01 am
lil_blue_monkey: Admin Stuff!

Hey guys~

I have to say the last few days away from the computer were much needed! I got some great ideas for future entries and a little bit of time to relax.

First up on our list of Admin Stuff:
I am making it a little easier for you die-hard members to post here. Now, we only have a few members...so those of you who have actually become a member of this community will get this added ease (if you want it, you must join!).

From now on, members who have been part of the community for more than a month can post without their entries being moderated!

Second on our list:
My daily entries have really been straining on me...so I'm going to change up the format. Except for religious holidays, I will only post entries on weekdays.

I hope you all can understand about these changes. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to respond to this entry and let me know about them.



Mon, Apr. 18th, 2005, 08:57 am
lil_blue_monkey: Got Jealousy?

Galatians 5:20-21

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar, about which I tell you in advance--as I told you before--that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

I don’t know about you, but I have struggled with jealousy throughout my life! It is the one thing that has brought my best laid plans crashing down when I least expect it.

Jealousy comes in many forms – anger, hatred, and many more. Your jealousy can center around just about anything, the most common I’ve found to be money, possessions, fame, praise and love.

Jealous over love? That sounds a little strange to me, but it’s true! And, to tell you the truth, it’s the one that I struggle with the most. Being single is a hard thing for me. My best friend found love and while I know I should be happy for her, I get this twinge of jealousy inside me. I hate that she’s found someone and I don’t have anyone. And it makes me sad, too, because it reminds me that I once had love and lost it. This seems to be a big source of jealousy for many women my age.

So what are you jealous about?

Jealousy is a pretty bad thing in God’s eyes. It’s also pretty bad for our health (Proverbs 14:30). Our envy and impatience in wanting things preys on our spirit. It also speeds up death (Job 5:2) and provokes God to cut us off from His Kingdom.

Oh God, I offer up my jealousies to You. I pray that You free me from their wrath and allow me to find contentment in my life with all that You have so graciously given me. Amen.

Fri, Apr. 15th, 2005, 08:24 am
lil_blue_monkey: A Letter from your Moderator

Hey guys~

Well, this has been going strong for a few weeks now, except for the fact that no one else posts....and we're only 5 strong in our membership...not a problem though, all things start off small!

But...the last few days have been pretty trying on me - moving furniture, studying, and other stressful things. And I just have this nagging feeling like I am neglecting myself and my daughter.

So, for the next 3 days (Fri-Sun) I am taking a little vacation from the stress! You won't see any posts here till Monday. But please! Feel free to do some posting of your own!

I'm going to take this little vacation to spend some time with my family and a little by myself to do some studying and writing.

Until Monday,

God Bless!

Thu, Apr. 14th, 2005, 08:07 am
lil_blue_monkey: A Servant's Entrance

This comes from the Christian Community Bible Study by LifeGuide, written by Rob Suggs.
Matthew 25:31-46
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Church life is full of opportunities to serve. Scan the Sunday bulletin or listen to the announcements, and you'll hear many appeals for help. it seems there are always more jobs than people willing to do them. Soon opportunity begins to look like obligation. How ofthen has someone approached you with a lok of desperation and said, "You're the perfect person for this job, and besides, nobody else will do it"?

By contrast, we usually jump at opportunities to get together and have fun. We're quick to sign up for a church picnic or camping trip or movie night. Ironically, nothing builds true community like selfless service together. Many Christian groups form strong bonds of fellowship as they give of their time and sweat in ministry together.

So which have you found more rewarding - being served or serving? Why?

In the last week of Jesus' earthly life He came to Jerusalem, the cetner of Jewish spiritually and political life and the site of God's temple. Sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, He talked about His future return and how Christians should behave in the interim. Then He painted a vivid picture of future judgment.

Give thought to this: What does this passage say to you about the priority of service in your own Christian community?

Wed, Apr. 13th, 2005, 07:59 am
lil_blue_monkey: (no subject)

This comes from the In Touch Early Light Devotional series written for CrossWalk.com by Charles Stanley

Romans 1:18-20

For God's wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.

It is a terrible tragedy for anyone to die-or to live- without knowing God. But because God so wants humankind to know Him, He reveals Himself to all people in many ways.

Pretend for a moment that we don't have the Bible. When we look around at creation, we nonetheless see the attributes of the Creator. The more we observe the earth and the celestial bodies beyond it, the more we will be amazed-such design doesn't happen by chance. Ponder the many immutable natural laws, such as gravity, and stop to consider nature's incredible beauty, intricacy, balance, and order that speak loudly of Someone very wise, powerful, creative, and generous.

God also reveals Himself through the conscience He created in us. (Romans 2:14-15) Even if our conscience is marred in our sinful state, and even if we have never heard the Gospel, this "inner alarm system" gives us a general sense of good and evil because we are created in God's image. As a result, virtually no culture in the world condones sins such as murder, rape, or stealing.

Ultimately, creation and our consciences alone aren't sufficient to lead us to complete knowledge of God. This is why God spoke His Word to us through the ages and sent Jesus, who is the full revelation of His character. (Colossians 1:15-20). The Spirit of God continues to reveal Himself to man-the crown jewel of His creation-because He wants each of us to truly know Him. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

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