Category Archives: Discipline

God’s Love Sets a New Standard

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Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.-Colossians 3:12-14

God loves us. There is no doubt about that. But what does it mean to be loved by God? A loving relationship is a two-way conversation. So what are we charged to do in our loving relationship with God if love is in fact a dynamic conversation? And where do we begin? The verse in Colossians speaks strongly to these questions. We, as God’s chosen and whom He dearly loves, are instructed to clothe ourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Clothe ourselves in these abstract words?

Do you have a favorite T-shirt? A pair of shoes? How about sweatpants? Come on! I know that everyone has a half-torn article of clothing somewhere in their wardrobe. The softness and comfort cannot be replicated. And the accompanying memories can’t either. I have a blue T-shirt that I inherited from my mom when I was in middle school. It is a sleep shirt but it means so much more to me than that. My dad was a musician professionally when I was growing up. He would take frequent trips to Nashville, TN from our home base in Chicago, IL to write and record. He and his band would work at Studio 19 just off from the famous Music Row. But every time that my dad would come home from this trip, he’d bring us a present. One time it was Studio 19 T-shirts. Mine was orange and mom’s was blue. I wore my orange Studio 19 T-shirt for years to bed until the threads became so bear that we had to get rid of it. It was incredibly soft and became a comfort to feel it against my skin. The day that we threw away my orange shirt, my mom gave me her blue one. Of course, I had to “break it in” for myself but I still have it. On the outside it represents Studio 19. But in reality it represents a time in my life. It represents my mom and dad. It represents feelings that cannont be seen.

Because we are God’s chosen we represent Him. Just like the old blue T-shirt. Like an article of clothing we are to wear compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience for they are the logos on our Christian uniform. I caution you to jump right along with that for this reason: we can remove clothing. So why would the image of clothing be used if we can just “take off” these virtues? Well, the last verse of Colossians speaks to that.  For it says,”And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Love is a feeling which comes from deep inside of us. Sure we can show or express love through words and actions but love can’t be removed like clothing in an instant. In the image of the clothing, love is the thread. And love is at the heart of the virtues: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. You can not authentically demonstrate or have these virtues without love. God is telling us that because He loves us; we are expected to love others. God made us in His image and think about it. By loving those around us we are in turn showing our love for God.

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Beauty is What’s on the Inside

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“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

I’ll be the first to admit that my appearance is important to me. I won’t leave the house without feeling “cute” to myself and when I don’t, I feel self-conscious all day! I always ask my husband as a second opinion. And as a good husband he always tells me that I look beautiful no matter how risky a combination I might be wearing that day. I feel prettier when I paint my nails,  highlight my facial features with eyeliner and spend and extra 30 minutes curling my hair to look like Sleeping Beauty’s. New clothes and shoes always give me a bump in esteem. I catch myself “checking myself out” in my reflection in windows and glass throughout the day. After eating, I always check my teeth. Do you find yourself doing the same things? Why does it matter what other people see when they look at us?

According to 1 Peter,  real beauty comes from the inside.  Have you ever noticed that when something good happens to you, you just sort of beam? It comes from within and you can nearly contain your happiness. It’s like when you find out that you got the highest grade in your class, won an award, answered a question right in front of the class, just were told that you were loved by a significant other, lost five pounds, landed that promotion, got engaged, or found out that you were expecting your first child. It is that inner joy that cannot be replicated on the outside with clothes, jewelry or even a new haircut. It causes you to walk taller, with greater confidence and with a smile plastered on your face. Shouldn’t we exude the same joy from the inside through our walk and faith in Christ? That’s the beauty that Peter is talking about.

Rather than spending time on our outward appearance, I think that Peter, the encourager, it suggesting that we shift our focus to our inner spirituality. It is the true us that only God knows and the person that we show to the world through our actions and words. God knows who we are. He reads our thoughts and hears the intentions of our hearts. Primping our inner selves becomes important and attainable through Bible Study and prayer. It is hard to cast away our outer selves but we have to persevere. Most importantly, we draw closer to our heavenly Father and in turn become better witnesses to those around us. I challenge you to harness that gentle spirit that Peter describes because instead of pleasing the onlookers of the world, shift your focus to pleasing and bringing glory to the One who loves you for you.

Then you will be prosperous and successful

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Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. – Joshua 1:8 (NIV)

I love this verse! What Joshua is basically telling us is that we need to be deep in the Word. Of course the Book of Law is only a portion of the Bible but how could we really go wrong as Christians if we are intimately studying the Bible? God has provided us with wisdom and instructions for how to live. Not only are we instructed to read but we are told to meditate to get deeper in thought and understanding. In this fast paced world that we live in we hardly find the time to slow down and just place ourselves in the silent presence of the Lord. I know that I am guilty of it! I’d love to just sit in a lotus position with a lit candle in the silence of my living room sans distractions for just 20 minutes. How personal to sit and listen for the Lord’s voice! So what is stopping you?

One aspect of Christian living that I have begun to practice is the memorization of scripture verses. It is really challenging for me to focus and study the Bible when I’m not participating in a scheduled Bible study. Do you ever find that you feel more comfortable talking about a subject once you master its content? Well, isn’t that the same case for the Bible? Sure it is hard but what isn’t? As Joshua tells us there is only one outcome. We will be prosperous and successful!  Shouldn’t we take that chance?

I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.

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I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.– Psalm 130:6 (NIV)

Patience is a virtue or so they say. It is a quality that I certainly don’t practice very well. Like this Psalm I feel like I’m always waiting for the next answer to the problem, the next song on the radio and the next day. I never want to live in the present. It is that waiting that the psalmist captures but rather a waiting for God.

What am I waiting for God to do? For Christ to return to Earth? For God to answer my prayers? For a miracle to happen? It all returns to patience. Whatever you are longing for God to do, have patience. He will answer you. It may not be the answer you are looking for but it will be His answer for you. And I’ve found that when God’s answer to my prayers is “no” then He has something greater in store that I’m not aware of yet.

You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

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Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Praise the Lord! To start off this series of prayerful Wednesday blog posts, I skimmed through some NIV daily bible verse websites. This verse from 1st Corinthians was the first one to catch my eye likely because I’ve been mediating a lot on health and wellness. 

God commissions us to treat our bodies as His temple. How would you prepare your home if you knew that God was visiting? You and I would clean for weeks making sure that everything is in its proper place. The meal would be meticulously planned with utmost care and detail. So too should we care for our bodies for as the verse above states that our bodies are a temple for God’s Holy Spirit to dwell within us. 

How can we accomplish this? Well first, we can start examining what we put in our bodies. God’s plan for us and our Christian walk is all about discipline. There are countless examples of God teaching us discipline. In Proverbs verse 12 God tells us that “whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” Further, 2 Timothy 1:7 states “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline.” This self-discipline extends to how we treat our bodies. Remember the mother-phrase “junk in, junk out?” Well the best way for us to honor God through how we treat our bodies is to eat right and get some exercise. Incorporation of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, nuts and whole grains into our diets in modest proportions can make a world of difference in how our bodies operate. Pair a healthy diet with at least 30 minutes of exercise daily and then we’re in business! Don’t forget to attend to our minds. Through sleep, meditation and a vacation here and there can help us stay refreshed too. 

The second part of this verse is the most compelling. “You are not your own; you were bought with a price.” How does that make you feel? It makes me want to take care of myself that much more. My soul is just borrowing this shell of a body and through Jesus’ death I can one day be reunited with the Lord in heaven. Therefore, I should make the most of my time here on earth by glorifying God with all that I have. Including my body.