2 Peter 1:5-7 Developing Christian Love

Adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence), and in [exercising} knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety), and in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.

–  2 Peter 1:5-7  Amplified

If there is one thing that God has demonstrated in His creation is that He is a God of order.  The circle of life follows an orderly guideline.  You can count on the sun rising every day and setting every night.  You can count on the moon and it’s varying shapes throughout the year.  If you give your body the right amount and kind of nutrition and exercise for the most part you can count on it’s response, unless you have some disease counter acting your diligence.  And it would appear there is an order to the verses above.

Let’s take it step by step and see what the verses are actually saying to us.  First we are to be diligent (work hard) at delving into [the divine promises], to me that means digging into God’s Word.  Once we are faithful to that what are we to do?  Make every effort to take what we’ve learned stretch our faith (work it out – put it to the test, thus exercising it) thus developing virtue (excellence, resolution).  Faith that has been stretched and pulled put through the flames and come out the other side has resilience and is stronger than faith that hasn’t been tested.  We will never how solid our faith is without it being tested.  Testing brings growth.

The next step is as we grow in virtue (excellence, resolution) we gain knowledge.  This makes sense as we grow in the Word of God and our faith blossoms we grow in knowledge.

Now we are growing stronger in the Word of God and we have a faith with resolution backing it up and growing in the knowledge of God we have the tools to exercise self-control.  It’s through exercising knowledge that we develop self-control.  They build on one another.

When we take the time to work on self-control we will see as the fruits of our labor steadfastness.  We will be firm, unwavering, patient, and enduring in our affairs.

With that steadfastness being worked out in our lives we will see godliness add to the characteristics that we bare.  Which is a necessity to build on the other qualities we who love God want to very much to attain.

Once we have godliness we can exercise that to mature to brotherly affection.  This is an important step.  We must have affection (fondness, liking, devotion, endearment, caring, attachment, warmth, and friendship).  If we can not have these attributes for one another we have no hope of loving one another.

While exercising brotherly affection this is how we develop Christian love.  An unconditional love.  This is when our characteristics become most like Christ.  We love those around us as Christ did.  Life is a process and we are not God we are humans so there will be times when we will fail.  At that time we repent and move on.

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Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Isaiah 43:1b, 4

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Not only is God gracious enough to redeem us and call us by name but we are precious in His sight.  If that isn’t something to praise God about I don’t know what is.

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It is also something that should do wonders for your self-esteem.  If you and I are precious and honored in the sight of God then who are we to say anything different about ourselves?  I’m preaching as much to myself here as to anyone reading this.

I’ve had a hard time with my identity in Christ but these verses make it very clear that we are something very special to God and for us to cut ourselves down or beat ourselves up is contrary to God and thus sin.  Ouch!  Rather harsh to look at it that way isn’t it?  But when we get real with ourselves and God we can see it for what it is and anything contrary to God and His righteousness is sin.

Maybe it’s time for those of us that struggle with this to start stashing away the Word of God in our hearts, so when we are tempted we will hear the truth and the truth will set us free from sin.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 5

Today I’m grateful for my old pastor Pastor Gary Richmond.  He came back to speak to us last night at evening chapel and as always it was wonderful!

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”  –  Romans 1:20

He showed how throughout nature and God’s creation all sorts of different animals and insects, birds and fish, that there is not really a difference in us emotionally, socially, governing, & intellectually it is only in a matter of degrees between us and them.

Two bobcats showing love.

The mothering instinct.

I learned that as for mazes the dolphin does far better than us.

As the scripture says, all of creation show God’s divine power and nature.  All we have to do is be observant.  What a blessing from God to open up all this to us.

He made the point that the arabian horse must be one of God’s favorites because in Revelation it talks about Christ’s return on a white horse and he figures that could very well mean a white arabian has the honor.

“I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.”  – Revelation 6:2

“11I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.  With justice he judges and makes war.  12His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.  He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.  13He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.  14The armies of heaven were following him, on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  15Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.  ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’  He treads the winepress of the fury o the wrath of  God Almighty.  16On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS”

–  Revelation 19:11-16

Whatever horse gets the honor of charging our Lord in the second coming that too is something to look forward to with gratitude.

I love when God peaks through to show His power in the storm and darkness.  All through nature there are so many lessons to be learned.  Thank You Lord.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude Day 4

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  –  1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV

Today I’m grateful to God for…”Living By Faith Blog” and his post “Are You Misdiagnosing Your Sin?” By Steve Fuller.  He helped me to realize that what I thought was an issue of laziness when it came to reading the Word of God was actually a sin of unbelief.

Thanks to his blog I have repented of that sin and pray that the Holy Spirit work in my heart.  I also have started praying along with him …over Scriptures showing God as my Treasure and the Word as the way to experience Him.”  The scriptures I’ve started praying over are; “God promises to provide the Spirit as we hear His Word with faith (Gal 3:5John 7:38).” and “So I prayed over Scriptures like Psalm 4:6-7Psalm 16:11Psalm 19:10Psalm 119:722Cor 4:6Phil 3:8-9.”  My prayer is like his heart mine will change.

It may take time.  But I’m grateful to be made aware of the sin so that I can do something about it and become more of the woman of God that He wants me to be.  So even if it is a painful lesson, I think of it as a blessing because I want to be all that my Lord wants of me.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Help! I’m Bi-polar!

I struggle with Bi-polar disorder and the past two plus weeks I’ve been struggling with severe depression.  When this happens it is easy to believe God has deserted you.  Now I am fully aware that that is not Biblically sound doctrine.  It’s just when your deep in the pit of despair it’s easy to go by feelings rather than faith of the truth of God’s Word.  But this is what God’s Word has to say on the matter:

What a blessed promise.  When I’m isolating in my apartment, I’m never truly alone.  God is with me.  He promises this and He is faithful, He never breaks His Word.

When I keep the discipline of staying in His Word I find these jewels that help me to hold on one more day in hopes of the depression leaving soon and life looking full of possibilities for the future.

I love this version of this particular verse because instead of translating the word to prosper which most people equate with money, something God has never seen fit to lavish upon me, it translates it as peace and that I’d much prefer.

There is another verse that I have found helpful in changing the thoughts that don’t help with the depression that I am fighting.

Filling my mind with positive thoughts rather than negative thoughts literally changed my life that and the decision that suicide was no longer an option.  But there is more than just the positive thoughts Philippians 4:9 goes on to say, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.”  Now that’s a wonderful promise! But notice the promise comes with action on our part.

For any of you that are struggling with Bi-polar disorder please don’t get me wrong in no way am I saying that it is easy to deal with.  I struggle with wanting to isolate, sleep my life away, gorge myself into oblivion so I don’t have to feel and I have even done less healthy things in an attempt to cope. What I am saying is it is a fight we mustn’t stop, and in that fight use any tool available to you.  Take your meds religiously.  See your doctors and therapists regularly and be open and honest with them.  Make sure you have a support network.  If you don’t work occupy yourself so you have a set schedule. Get plenty of rest and have a consistent bedtime.  Eat healthy even when you don’t want to.  Get exercise and get 20 minutes of morning sun.  All of these will help you live a better life.

Joy – Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Qualities to Add to Our Life

It seems that God is trying to get a message through to me because similar messages are repeating themselves every time I turn around.

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:5-8

It is obvious to me that God wants me to increase my faith and to add these qualities to my life.  The qualities that He seems to be focusing on at this time are knowledge, self-control and perseverance.  I have an increasing hunger to get to know Him better and His will in my life.

It has become very obvious to me that I lack self-control.  The areas of my life that I lack it in so much is my eating and my sleep habits and making and sticking to a schedule for my life.  I need God’s guidance in these areas.

If I had more faith, knowledge and self-control I would naturally have more perseverance.  The more faith I have the longer I will trust God and persevere under trials.  With more knowledge of the Word of God, the greater my faith and the stronger my trust and my self-control.

Lord help me to add to my faith, if that means by experiences that are uncomfortable that need to be gone through, I’m ready to do whatever it takes to increase my faith in You that we might be closer.  Help me to live a a life of goodness.  Give me a thirst for Your Word that I might have ever increasing  knowledge.  Lord, help me to develop the Fruit of the Spirit self-control.  I long to be pleasing to You and not let You down.  Please let me develop perseverance that I might withstand under trials and peer pressure, so that I might be pleasing to You and mature in the faith.  Lord, help me to develop godliness that I might be a good representative of You.  Give me brotherly kindness that I might help to bring unity to the body of Christ.  Heavenly Father give me love for that is the most important quality of all.  Give me the love that You have for those who know You and those who don’t know You.  I want to love as You love, unconditionally.  Thank you for loving me enough to answer my prayers.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Happy Father’s Day

As we honor our earthly Fathers for all the wonderful things they have done for us.  Maybe he would blow bubbles with you.  Perhaps your’s like mine would take you out on outings as a kid that was code for once the shopping was done we were going to Thrifty’s for ice cream.  May be he played ball with you and taught you all about sports.  Perhaps he would swing with you.  Maybe he had many business trips but would always bring home a gift for you to remind you that he had been thinking of you the whole time.

Or perhaps your dad was absent or worse yet abusive with either his words or deeds or both.  You may have nothing but bad memories of your father and the idea of celebrating this day is more than you can handle.

Perhaps your like me and your father is no longer a live and this day is just a reminder of what you are missing.

May I encourage you that we can honor a Father that loves like no other!  He is there for the hurting and wants to ease your burden.

I know there are a thousand questions for those of us who have been abused and/or witnessed abuse that we could ask our Heavenly Father, “Why would you allow that to happen to me?”

All I know is His ways are higher than mine and His thoughts higher than mine.  I’ve come to a point that there are things that I will not understand this side of heaven.  I’m alright with that.  There is so much that He has done for me that I can trust in His love and honor Him this Father’s Day as the awesome Father that He is!

Please take a step of faith with me and no matter what kind of earthly father you have and honor our Heavenly Father.  For He is at work, working all things for our good.  That is something we can praise Him for and there is oh so much more.  His grace, mercy, love, righteousness, justice, majesty and glory.  He offers that grace to all who will accept it, and merciful on those who call on Him.  He lives to love us.  Where would the world be if He weren’t righteous?  His majesty humbles us and puts us in right standing with Him.  His glory is to shine through us to bring others to Him.  What more could you ask of a Father.

How about one that keeps track of every tear ever cried and hurts that you hurt.  He wants to take that hurt away.  And replace it with His love and forgiveness.  Two very powerful attributes.

He wants to fill the emptiness that human fallible fathers could not fill.  That is why He wants us to turn to Him so strongly.

While you’re honoring your earthly father take some time today to consider honoring your Heavenly Father.  If that means giving your life to Him because you have yet to do that then ask forgiveness for your sins, thank Him for what Christ did on the cross for you and decide that you are going to live differently from now on.  Get into the Word of God so that you know how to live, and find a growing church body to be a part of.  If that means recommitting your life to God so be it.  Get in right standing with Him and do all you can to not fall away again.  If you are in good standing with God praise Him for all that He has done for you and all that you may have taken for granted.

Have a blessed Father’s Day!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!