Monday, May 28, 2012

Special Guest Bog: joy - calm delight?

Here's another post from my sister Margie. Hope you enjoy it... 


ramblings about the fruit of the spirit called JOY...

i used to be more of an outwardly joyful person. it was obvious when i was enthusiastic, excited or happy. life's junk seemed to rob me of my joy(or so i thought). circumstances set my attitude bar. i also thought that other people, i.e. john, were supposed to make me happy. once i figured out that no one was responsible for my joy except me, i decided to do it on my own. it was exhausting! i just couldn’t keep it up. i thought i was disappointing God because i didn't seem 'happy/joyful' all the time. if happiness wasn't pouring out of me, others would not be drawn to Jesus, right?

one day in my car, joyce told me that joy means 'calm delight.' this was really hard to believe. i knew when i 'felt' joyful, it certainly was not calm. delightful, maybe, but not calm. joyce must have really missed it. i mean, i had lead bible studies on joy, spoke and sang about it often, but still had not experienced anything very calm.

i was on the wrong track: mixing up happiness, which depends on my circumstances... with joy, which is a deep knowing that can only be found in Holy Spirit. joy comes from the heart of God. it is a deposit when we receive the Holy Spirit. all this i knew, yet still i was not getting the 'high' of outward joy.

do you know what joy means in the bible? you guessed it...'calm delight.' how could this be? there it is, joyce was right, as usual.

i don't have to perform for God or others to show my joy. what a great relief. He says i can have this calm delight at any time. even in the midst of trials that joy is accessible. i still have explosive joy-filled moments! i can't help it. God is so good, always.

praising and worshiping Him stirs up my joy. He doesn't need to be reminded of His awesomeness, but i do!

(oh yeah, joyce is joyce meyer. she's pretty wise.)

joy is expressed many different ways in the bible: shouts, songs, clapping, dancing, praising, exchange for sadness and mourning, in fullness, in His presence... open up the word of God and read it! it's full of JOY and so are you! just start counting your blessings and see if that doesn't bring delight.

as you journey along life's road, stir up the joy within and deposit it in the people you meet along the way. wear your smile!

grace and peace and JOY to you
(Oh, and today's quote from joyce:  keeping “self” happy is a full time job, but the pay at the end of the week is disappointing.)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

Many years ago my parents gave me a book for my birthday, or maybe it was Christmas - I'm not really sure and the occasion doesn't really matter. The book was called My Friend the Bluebird Who Lost His Song. This was a cute story about a little bluebird who has lost his song (duh). The bluebird goes to the window of a little girl and asks for help. Taking her friends along for the adventure, they find the bluebird's song and everyone lives happily ever after.

Cute story, right? What was really fun about it was that I was the little girl in the story, and my friends were the other characters. Well, my friends and my pets - guess I didn't have enough friends to fill in all the spaces. Hey - we lived in the country and had 3 houses near us. I was blessed to have the two friends I did have.

The story was a fun adventure that had us shrinking and riding on the bluebird's back on the great quest to find the lost song, only to discover that the song was right where it had always been, but deep down inside the bluebird. Whew. Crisis averted.

You may be wondering, what does this have to do with the fruit of the spirit? Well, I thought I'd retell that story with a little twist...

My Friend the Bluebird Who Lost His Joy

Once there was a little bluebird who was quite sad. One day, he went to the window of a little girl named Karen, and said, "Little girl, I seem to have lost my joy. Can you help me find it?" Karen replied, "Why, of course I will help you! Do you mind if I ask my friends to come along?" "That would be wonderful!", replied the bluebird.

So Karen, along with Ali, ChristyLaurenScottBabettaLeslie, Margie, Judy, and Carl, went out with the bluebird to see if they could find his joy.
They looked all over.
They looked in many of the places the bluebird liked to visit.
They looked under his wings but his joy wasn't there.
They looked in bluebird's nest but his joy wasn't there.
They looked around his favorite birdbath but his joy wasn't there.
They looked in the field he liked to fly over but his joy wasn't there.
They looked at his favorite bird feeder bu his joy wasn't there.

Where, oh where, could he have left his joy?

They asked the bluebird, "When did you last have your joy?"

"I remember soaring high in the sky, like I've seen the eagles do, and I began singing a song I'd never sung before. I had such a delight in my heart that I just couldn't explain. Why can't I feel that again?" The bluebird seemed more distraught than ever.

Then the friends all remembered at the same time  "Oh, why didn't we think of this sooner?"

The friends explained to the bluebird that he had what he needed all along. All he had to do was to ask Jesus, and to choose joy. Joy isn't about how you feel, but it's an overall attitude about everything. Take each moment and find the joy in it, even in the trials and hard times. If nothing else, Jesus is with you and that should be enough for you to find joy.

Then the bird flew off, soaring like an eagle and singing a new song, just like before.

He found his joy. Have you?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Special Guest Blog: Love Notes from Margie

Here are some more thoughts from my lovely sister, Margie.
  • Love is a choice! Choose love!
  • He loves me extravagantly! And you too!
  • His love is no respecter of persons. He loves us ALL!
  • Real love expects nothing in return. We can only do this with Christ! This is a Choice. Choose Jesus!
  • Love people anyway.
  • Dog is God spelled backwards, just sayin'. It's pretty cool how you can yell at your dog, or ignore them, but still they are so excited to see you every time you come home! Be excited like that when your spouse comes home or when someone visits. It's a choice!
  • Praying for God to bless the unlovable people in your life changes your heart for them!
  • Forgiveness brings freedom. Choosing not to forgive imprisons us, not the one we think we're holding prisoner.
  • If I don't love me & I speak all kinds of ugliness over myself, it's offensive to the God who took such great care in making me. Speak life over yourself!
  • Speak life over everyone you come in contact with, especially those who are hard to love! This is a choice!
  • Line up your thoughts toward others with God's truth. Change your thinking. This is also a choice!
  • I think the Beatles got it right long before us. All You Need Is Love.
  • The loving God of the new testament is the same loving God of the old testament!
  • And that's just the beginning...

Special Guest Blog: Love Like That

And another special guest arrives. I've also known this woman my whole life. She's also taught me a lot about love. Meet my sister, Margie. If you know her, you're already exited to read on. If you don't, you will know a lot about her just by reading these thoughts. I'm honored to have her a part of this series. You'll definitely be seeing more from her in the coming weeks.

i was invited to join in on a "fruit of the spirit" blog series by an amazing woman, my sister. i am joining some inspirational bloggers.
so this is my freshman attempt at blogging, without a blog. after attempting this on my iphone, i’m borrowing karen's cute little net book she bought for romania. thanks karen!
i am not a scholar, just a student of His love. i want to know His heart. what you are reading, should you choose to, are my... ramblings, ponderings, questions, and personal/biblical discoveries (that is, until someone smarter, or a life-experience, shows me a new view)

Love Like That love love, bah ba da da da
what can i do to make God love me more?
could i do something (or not do something) that would cause Him to love me less?

i realize that you most likely know this, but do we really live in this truth? the truth that we cannot do one thing to make God love us more, and nothing we do would cause Him to love us less. i am still amazed by this truth. (this, of course, is no excuse for intentional sin)
and what about the way we treat each other? are we loving one another the way God loves us? is it even possible? does He really require that of us as His children? i mean, how can i deny someone grace & love when i received it straight from the heart of God?
Jesus says, "what good is it if you love those that are easy to love...the lovable? even the unsaved do that. great is your reward if you choose to love the unlovable!"(ok, that's my paraphrase of matthew 5)
vs.43-48 You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
did you catch that be perfect stuff? RED LETTERS! Jesus said not only that we CAN be perfect, but says to BE perfect! He also says "be holy"
i really like eugene peterson's paraphrase on how to love...
Ephesians 5:1-2 [ Wake Up from Your Sleep ] Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
that seems pretty clear to me... and there is more. every time i read the WORD i learn more about God's extravagant love. if we are to learn a life of love then put it into practice, and if God is the one who tells us to do that, then surely he will equip us! i know that i am not capable on my own, in my own strength, but Holy Spirit in me is more than enough to do it through me!
the truths are endless... 1cor 13, john 3:16, all of Ephesians, the cross, the resurrection, song of solomon, love your neighbor, the golden rule, Jesus came to serve as an example for us, jesus poured his love out on me so i better pour it out on others...
i've been doing a self-check... are there people i hide from when i'm shopping at walmart? do i smile at the cashier, the person on the gas pump opposite me, the person holding up my check-out lane, new people at church? the folks i don't "approve" of? the person who hurt me deeply? the lost and broken? the angry, the hurting? do i ever speak to my neighbor?
i want to Love like that. do you? can we? God says we can.

Don't forget to check out the other bloggers in the series:

Special Guest Blog: Mom's Thoughts on Love

It's time to introduce you to a very special woman. One I've known my whole life. Even when I was at my most unlovable, she loved me anyway. I think that's the most important thing I've learned from my mom.  These are her thoughts on love. This was an unexpected addition to the blog this week, and I hope we hear more from her. 

I have been reading a lot about love. I never realized there was so much to it. For me love seems to be easy, yet difficult. The first instinct for me is to love. Sometimes that is dangerous. It can be hurtful if the love isn't returned. But if some of the things I have been reading are true, and I think they are, then love should be the first thing that comes to mind when you meet someone for the first time and for all the times you meet them after that. There is a lot of love in my family. I see it and feel it every day. My family has become my life. Although I have friends at Millpond (the Manor) my life has been changed, altered, by my family. And as some very famous people have declared.....
All you need is love, love is all you need.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Love Glasses

If only it were so easy... just put some gadget on and you will see the world differently. Change your glasses, put on different shoes, wear different clothes, walk down a different street.... some of these things may work for a time, but they aren't permanent. 

This came on the iPod today and since it's love week here on the blog, I thought I'd share it. 

Don't get me wrong. There's not a thing wrong with trying something to help remember to see folks as God sees them. It just doesn't last unless we're letting God love them through us. As hard as we try, we will always fall short. Otherwise, we wouldn't need Him.

"Keep truth seeking, listen to wisdom speaking, catch his heartbeat and see the world through Gods eyes!"
"God give us grace to see all things, To see man's heart the way You see" ~ Beckah Shae

Check out some of these other posts about love from other bloggers:
Ali ~ Christy ~ Lauren ~ Scott (he hasn't posted yet... boo) ~ Babetta ~ Leslie ~ Carl

Friday, May 18, 2012

Random LOVEly Thoughts

  • Love really is patient.
  • It's impossible to love something that can't love you back.
  • Just because something/someone can love you back, it doesn't mean they will. Love them anyway.
  • Sometimes it's harder to receive love than it is to give it. Sometimes it's the other way around.
  • There are times when it's easier to love a stranger than it is to love those closest to you.
  • Love is hard to measure. 
  • Love is a choice.
  • Talking about loving and actually loving are very different. The former is much easier, less risky, and way, I mean way, less painful.
  • You can learn a lot about love from a dog. Not so much from a cat. (This might get me some hate mail)
  • Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand. - Mother Teresa
  • First, love God. Second, love everyone else. The rest will fall into place - just don't get the order mixed up.
  • Love hurts sometimes, but it's worth it. 
  • There's always someone within reach that needs to know what love really is.
  • God loves me, so it's okay if you choose not to. 
  • It's all about love, love, love, love, love. Thanks Steven Curtis Chapman. That part of that song is all I could remember all week, and it's stuck in my head.
  • It's hard to love someone when all you see is their faults. 
  • Love doesn't change based on circumstances.
What about you? What thoughts run through your head when you think about love?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fruit of the Spirit: Love

{Love. Who came up with the idea to put love first? I mean, where do I start? When I think about love, I either sit here, staring off into space thinking, "uhhhhhh, ummmmm, uhhhhh, yeah". Or, my mind reels with a gazillion thoughts that never really form into anything. I've written about love before. Do I really have to again? I mean, you get it, right?



I'll do it.}

(please excuse the previous conversation that occurred out loud in my head. it wasn't meant to be shared, but sometimes, that just happens)

On to the real blog now.

In case you haven't stopped by in a while (and why would you, unless you like watching paint dry), this is the first in a blog series on the fruit of the spirit. I have some friends coming along to share their thoughts on the fruit, too. More about them later. If you're bored here and want to know more, they are all linked on the side bar, and some of them are on top of it and have already posted.

Today as I was driving to work, I was thinking about this word love and how poorly I've been doing it lately.  On the outside I can go through the motions with the best of 'em. But on the inside, I'm doing what's right. It's not what comes naturally. Not yet anyway.  I want to have that instant "what can I do to love this person more" reaction in every situation. Don't you? Maybe you already do that, but I think we can all fall short sometimes, so don't think I'm beating myself up here.

Jesus loved in every moment. I want to be like Him. He got it right. I mean, when one of your names is Love, how can you not just automatically bleed love?

Where does that leave me? My name isn't Love.

But Love is in me. He has placed His love in me so I can let it flow out of me. This reminds me of a thought I had recently. God doesn't give us anything we're to keep for ourselves. He gives it to us so we can give it, share it, explain it, express it, nurture it and let it go, learn from it.

I am not Love, like He is. But I am His beloved. Cherished. Loved. His love in me is not just for me. It is in me so I can give it, share it, explain it, express it, nurture it and let it go, and learn from it.  I'm still learning.

I have a feeling there will be more on this subject this week. Stay tuned.  In the mean time, check out these blogs from earlier today:  there is beauty in letting go, a joyful journal, the rabbit hole chronicles

...Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fruit of the Spirit: A Blog Series

This is something new for me. I had the idea to write a series of blog posts on a particular subject. Since I haven't been writing much lately, I thought it would be a good jump start to get back into the habit. I started talking with a friend about it, and there were so many questions to answer...

What subject?
When should I post?
Should it be daily? Weekly?
What if I forget?
What if I'm not inspired?

Then I thought... why put so much pressure on myself? Just have others post as guest bloggers on your site!  Brilliant!

But that defeats the purpose of me actually writing. So then it hit me, do the series, but bring someone along for the accountability and inspiration to keep going. So I asked someone, and then someone else, and then another, and so on. So now what we have is several bloggers participating in this series, and I'm super excited about it!

Over the next few weeks, I'll be introducing you to their blogs. Some are people I've known my whole life, others I've just met, and the rest fall in between there somewhere. Some I know in real life, others just on-line. But what's really cool about it, is we all love Jesus. He's the reason we're doing this. He's the reason we write. He's the reason we live. He's the reason we take our next breath. Without Him, none of this matters.

Starting next week, we'll all be starting a series on the fruit of the spirit. Each week, a different fruit, starting with love next week.  Feel free to join in on the fun.

...Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!