Friday, April 9, 2010


summer's notebook, chapter 12.

self-control = the ability to keep one's self in check. the ability to say 'no' to emotions, cravings, urges.
a person who has self-control has mastered their desires and love of pleasure.

to win the battle of self-control, i have to recognize the conflict and rely totally upon God's help and grace. ephesians 6.10-13.

common problem areas for fleshly urges.. snacks. sweets. clothes. making good use of my time, all the time.

self-control does NOT: yield to temptation, give in to desires, participate in sin, indulge itself, satisfy itself

self-control cares about:
growing more Christ-like
being a good steward of my body (which is the temple of the Holy Spirit)
being a good steward of the money God has given me
spending my time wisely, in a worthwhile way

blessings of not succumbing to the flesh (saying 'no')..
1. i can have God's victory in whatever temptation is attacking me
2. i can build a track record with Him and gain experience that will help me later when i face another temptation

i must see every decision as a battle. who will i side with? my flesh, or the Holy Spirit?

how to start mastering your self (flesh)..
1. pray. over everything. before every decision. commit each day to Him in prayer.
2. monitor my input. don't put yourself in situations where you'll be tempted.
3. stay busy.
4. keep a schedule.
5. don't pamper myself.
7. saturate my mind with His Word. read proverbs for wisdom. memorize key verses.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


summer's notebook, chapter 11.

gentleness = being meek, humble, and tame. the opposite of wild and fierce. a gentle person is one who..
  • is accustomed to control by another
  • has been toned down
  • exhibits complete dependence on another
  • has yielded all will to another's control
  • unquestioningly and humbly obeys what is ordered
  • accepts what is given
  • is docile, obedient, and pliable
  • is easy to work with and to be with
  • submits fully to God's will
  • submits willingly to her husband
  • withstands misunderstanding and distress
  • refuses to fight, assert herself, or seek vengeance
  • takes it and bears no grudge
how can i bear suffering and ill treatment?
we can maintain a demeanor of tranquility, no matter what life brings, because God is in control of every minute. we can 'take it' by trusting Him, resting in His sovereignty, remembering that he works all things together for our good, and by believing that everything that happens in our life is allowed by God and He is able to help us handle it.

why should i desire gentleness?
1. because it is of great worth in God's sight. (1 peter 3.4)
2. because our Savior was gentle.
3. because it brings great intimacy with God. it means wanting only His will, depending completely on Him, belonging only to Him, and yielding humbly to Him.

a gentle and quiet spirit..
does not mean living in absolute silence.
gentle.. docile and submissive cooperation, not creating disturbances
quiet.. the acceptance of life in general, bearing disturbances created by others

  • start accepting. whether things go right or wrong, accept everything today as allowed by God.
  • start praying. prayer puts us in a posture of gentleness. submitting, yielding, coming humbly before Him.
  • start practicing a tranquil & docile demeanor. work toward a reputation of gentleness.
  • refuse to complain. complaining is not accepting.
  • refuse to manipulate. let God resolve the issue for you. stop straining. let Him glorify Himself by coming to your rescue.
my favorite excerpt from this chapter..
"Gentleness is perfect quietness of heart.
It is for me to have no trouble; never to be fretted or vexed
or irritated or sore or disappointed.
It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing done to me,
to feel nothing done against me,
It is to be at rest when nobody praises me.."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


summer's notebook, chapter 10.

faithfulness = being loyal, constant, and steadfast.
in other words.. just do it! keep going. do the next thing. no matter how you're feeling.
remember! this applies to my behavior in respect to other people and toward God.

opposites of faithfulness (things to avoid)
changing loyalties, changing standards, changing my mind. nothing seems to merit commitment, nothing seems too important. being fickle, unstable, impulsive, unreliable.

faithfulness helps us fight weakness, impulsiveness, and laziness.

the mark of a woman of faithfulness. she is..
following through, delivering, showing up, keeping her word, keeping commitments and appointments, carrying out instructions, coming through, and being devoted to her duties.

why is it important?
01. it is crucial that God's faithfulness be a part of our character because faithfulness marks God's presence in our lives. this is how we show forth our faithful Savior and demonstrate that we belong to Him.
02. because we long to hear Him say one day, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.'
03. because our Savior is faithful, and we are to be growing more Christ-like.

what are my responsibilities? where do i need to monitor my faithfulness?
  • prayer life|devotional life
  • my role as grant's wife
  • my duties as the keeper of my home
  • my task of helping teach preschoolers
  • my calling to be faithful in the church
and as a faithful woman, i should 'respond positively, enthusiastically, and energetically to these job assignments from God.'

struggles of the flesh, struggles against faithfulness:
tiredness.. 'i can't do it'
laziness.. 'i don't want to do it'
hopelessness.. 'it doesn't matter if i do it'
procrastination.. 'i'll do it later'
rationalization.. 'someone else will do it'
apathy.. 'i don't care if i do it'
rebellion.. 'i won't do it'

things to remember..
1) desire for fruit/to live a godly life
2) look to Him
3) follow God's Word

serving people is a primary way for us to serve our Lord.
be faithful in small things.
fight self-indulgence.
eliminate laziness and idleness.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


summer's notebook, chapter 8

goodness is..
1. the sum of all God's attributes.
2. obeying God.
3. kindly activity on the behalf of others.
4. completely dedicated to helping others live well.
5. a readiness to do good.
4. the opposite of man's badness. everything we associate with goodness is not of ourselves, but God working in us. 'for i know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh' (romans 7.18).

goodness is my assignment
'hate what is evil; cling to what is good.' romans 12.9b
'i want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.'
'command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.' 1 timothy 6.18
'our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may.. not live unproductive lives.' titus 3.14
'we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.' eph. 2.10

in 1 timothy, we are called to dress ourselves with good works, which can be translated as living 'a life of selfless devotion to others, an adornment that lies not in what a woman puts on, but in the loving service she gives out.'

favorite lines from this chapter
  • every assault upon us gives us an opportunity to live out godliness.
  • 'christian character is not expressed by good doing, but by God-likeness'.. These words offer us a healthy reminder that our goal is to grow in godliness, not just to crank out works.
  • forget your own comfort: 'the good life is not comfort, but godliness.'
  • take the initiative in meeting the specific needs of others. after all, 'love means action.'
'our world, our churches, our homes need people who are actively kind: people who walk out their door every day ready to do good- not just think about it or pray about it; people who are devoted to making the lives of others better.'

reading assignment: chapter 9, looking at Jesus' actions
memory verse: philippians 1.27

Thursday, March 4, 2010

KINDNESS, or 'being too nice'

summer's notebook, chapter 7.

we are called to be kind.
1. ephesians 4.32 'be kind and compassionate to one another..'
2. colossians 3.12 'put on a heart of .. kindness'
3. timothy 2.24 ''..must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all.'

defining kindness..
  • tenderness and concern for other people
  • making the good of others as important as our own
  • a sweetness of disposition

'God's grace of kindness should pervade the whole person, mellowing all that might be harsh.'

{learning from opposites} kindness means..
not arguing, not causing strife, not stirring up conflict, and not being mean.

kindness does mean.. caring for, thinking of, considering, and noticing others. pray that you might see the needs of others before your own!

'what is it like to be yoked with me? am i easy to be with and kind, a person who makes it easier for other people to bear their burdens? or am i an additional burden which other must bear, causing their yoke to chafe and rub, making it more difficult for them.. because they are yoked to a harsh, quarrelsome, wearisome woman?'

things to do today:
1. pray for greater love and compassion for others
2. pray for those who mistreat you
3. spend time studying Jesus's life for examples of kindness
4. make it your goal to be 'too nice'
5. begin making the effort at home to live out God's command to be kind. what does your husband need? or your children? what would make their life easier?

reading assignment: chapter 8, giving in goodness
memory verse: 2 peter 1.5

Sunday, February 28, 2010

sacrifice + patience::

in our week 5 study, we examine ourselves in the light of Jesus' example. we assess His attitudes and actions. and then, we examine our own. oh, how inferior we are to our Savior. however, i am not discouraged by such assessment-- but instead-- i am motivated. challenged.

there is a question posed in our study's companion guide that asks:

"Did you pour out your energy in sacrificial service to those who crossed your path?"

i LOVE this question, and not because i always attain the answer of "yes", but because i have made it my goal to be a continual servant. i ask myself this question regularly-- and make daily attempts to set aside my judgements, selfishness and laziness, for the good of someone else.

the other night, over mugs of warm tea, my friends and i were discussing the way we wanted to raise our children someday. i contemplated, and voiced that my goal would be to raise them as givers. servants. always aware of the needs of others. always thankful for the things they have. always pouring outward. in sacrificial service. be it to the homeless at a soup kitchen. to the earth in our garden. to the kid who sits alone at the lunch table. or to their brother or sister. i want the theme of my house to be

"there is always someone less unfortunate. be thankful."

with those thoughts in the forefront-- servanthood is the natural next step.

further into our study- in week 6- we read of patience. the most difficult attribute for myself. i like things NOW. better yet, yesterday. and i am continually re-planting seeds of patience. seeds of faith and trust.

i loved reading this passage from leonardo da vinci:

" patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. for if you put on more clothes, as the cold increases it will have no power to hurt you. so in like manner you must grow patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind."

while rarely easy-- make it your goal this week to plant patience. to practice patience. and see how far you can go.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


summer's notebook, chapter 6.

patience, patience, patience. how often i need this reminder. this year as i've been working with preschool students, i've been bowled over by how much patience i need each and every day! just keeping calm enough to answer their incessant stream of questions requires all of my energy and pushes me to pray for His strength. i like how elizabeth points out that we are heading into the fruits that help us 'manage the strain of personal relationships' because, as we can all clearly see, 'where there are people, there are problems!'

in colossians 3:12 we are called to be patient. 'therefore, as God's chose people, clothe yourselves with.. patience.' here is our clear commission! we are 'dress' ourselves with patience, just as we put on our clothes each morning. what a good picture to keep in mind as i'm getting ready to face the day.

how should we think about patience? enduring, tolerant, forbearing wrong treatment, resisting revenge, connected with mercy, and without any anger.

'patience is that calm and unruffled temper with which the good person bears the evils of life.. that proceed from others.'

being patient means..
01. being able to resist the temptation to react quickly/negatively/foolishly/harmfully/sinfully and instead keeping yourself calm and controlled.
02. you can pause and pray about the situation, letting Him handle it before you try to tackle it on your own.
03. gives you the time you need to yield to the Holy Spirit and respond in a righteous manner, instead of giving in to the fleshly desire to freak out about something. (throw a fit, back talk, lash out)

i liked elizabeth's section, 'things to do today to walk in patience'. i love clear, practical steps.
01. train yourself in long-suffering. learn to restrain your anger, keep calm and quiet. take joy in overlooking little things that bother you.
02. lengthen your fuse. ask yourself, how long can i wait? how many times can i endure this? God is always willing to wait for us, will we do the same for others?
03. remove opportunities to sin. remove yourself from unnecessary conversations/situations that tend to rile you up.
04. follow jesus' example. He never opened His mouth as they accused and beat and killed Him.
05. pray. the biggest and best step of them all. 'let Him fill you with His patience as you endure the hurt, without vengeance and for the good of those who hurt you.'

reading assignment for next week: chapter 7, planning for kindness
memory verse: proverbs 11.6