Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Heart of Gratitude

*This was written awhile back and posted on my As Lilies Sewing journal, but I thought that I would also share it here.


Is "Warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful"

First and foremost we are to be grateful to God. In Colossians 3:16, it says to "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God."

God has done so very much for us, yet often we take His gifts for granted. All that we are, the very air we breathe are gifts from Him. Even more importantly is God's greatest gift to us, His Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior through whom we receive salvation and that not of ourselves, but as a gift from God.

How often are we to show gratefulness? When we feel like it? When we get what we want? When circumstances are comfortable?

". . . in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

"always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;" Ephesians 5:20

There is an excellent example of gratefulness found in Luke 17:11-19 regarding the healing of the ten lepers by Christ. Of the ten men, nine continued on their way. They had received what they wanted. They were no longer outcasts from society. They were cleansed. Those nine had received so much, yet they did not even take the time to give praise and thanks to the One who had healed them. No, it was only one man who after being healed, turned back and went alone to Christ. The attitude of his heart is clearly seen as the Scriptures say that he was "glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him." What was the difference between this one man and the other nine? All were cleansed. All heard the same words from Christ's lips. What was the difference? The one had a heart of gratefulness. A heart of faith. He recognized that he did not 'deserve' to be healed. It was not his 'right' to be cleansed. But Christ had given it to him freely. A gift from the Savior of the world.

-Posted by Sarah

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Tablet of My Heart

Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 3:3

This morning, while reading Scripture, this verse in Proverbs greatly blessed me. In speaking of kindness and truth, we are told to not let them leave us. To bind them around our necks, to write them on the tablet of our hearts, both of which give an idea of permanence.

In Matthew 12:34 we are told that “the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” What is in our hearts will be reflected in our daily lives, through the words that we speak, and the attitude that we have. May our hearts be abounding with love and obedience for God, so that kindness and truth will not leave us, and so our hearts may serve as a tablet for our Lord.

-Posted by Leah

Thursday, December 27, 2007


In the post on a gentle and quiet spirit, one aspect of ‘quiet’ that was mentioned was contentment. As I was reading my Bible this past Tuesday morning, there was a verse that was very applicable to this:

Therefore I [Paul] am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10

Wow. I can imagine for me personally, that it could be difficult to be content in some of these circumstances. But, it is for Christ’s sake. It is for Him that we live. It is Him that we serve. And He has promised that “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’” (2 Corinthians 12:9). May we be weak in ourselves, and He strong through us.

-Posted by Sarah

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Gentle and Quiet Spirit - Part 2

Continued . . .

Not exciting controversy, disorder or trouble: A woman with a gentle and quiet spirit which is precious in the sight of God, will not be argumentative. She will not assert her own will or desires. She will respond to others with a gentle voice and a smile on her face. She will have a true humility, recognizing that Christ has commanded her to put others before herself. We are to be lowly in our own estimation. God has commanded us to “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves,” Philippians 2:3 and to “Be devoted to one another [i.e. brothers and sisters in the Lord] in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;” Romans 12:10.

Mild: The definition of ‘mild’ fits so well with having a gentle and quiet spirit. One of the defining words is ‘tender’. When you think of this word in relation to ladies, what do you see? I see a gentleness, patience, love, calmness, femininity and grace. Websters 1828 Dictionary of the English Language includes in the definition words such as: gentle in temper or disposition; kind; compassionate; merciful; calm; tranquil; not stern; not frowning.

Contented: As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to be content. ‘Content’ is being joyful in whatever circumstances that the Lord has placed us in. No matter how lonely the life, no matter how little the physical possessions, no matter how diseased the body, we are called to be content. Paul stated this so well in Philippians 4:11 “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” Contentment is not something that just ‘happens’. We have to have purposeful intent to learn to be content. To learn to be thankful for wherever God has placed us in life, joyfully knowing that His hand will guide and lead us as we trust and rest in Him.

Having a gentle and quiet spirit encompasses so many of the other qualities that God has commanded women to have. If gentleness and quietness were ours and increasing, would not it be so much easier to respond with a submissive spirit? (1 Timothy 2:11-12; Titus 2:5). To eagerly be a helpmeet to our fathers or our husbands? (Genesis 2:18; 1 Corinthians 11:9) To be modest in our dress, in our words and in our actions? (1 Timothy 2:9-10) The answer is most assuredly “Yes!”

What a beautiful picture all of this paints of godly womanhood, and this gentle and quiet spirit is precious in the sight of God. By exhibiting it, we bring joy and honor to our Lord, our Savior. What greater thing can we give Him, but ourselves walking in obedience to Him?

My dear sisters in Christ, may we together strive to have gentle and quiet spirits. I know that this is an area that I struggle with in my life. It is in fact one of my greatest areas of weakness, but my heart longs to grow into this godly woman. Sometimes it can be almost overwhelming to think of striving to attain this, but the Holy Spirit will help and aid us if we yield to Him. If we surrender our will, His will will become our own. And thus day by day, we can put off more of the flesh and clothe ourselves more with Christ. May we as ladies of God, earnestly desire and strive to become ones who are characterized by having a gentle and quiet spirit, all to the glory of God.

-Posted by Sarah

A Gentle and Quiet Spirit - Part 1

"Your adornment must not be merely external - braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God."
1 Peter 3:3-4

In Scripture, God has given specific instructions to women regarding their character which together paint a beautiful picture of what a godly woman is to be like. One of these sections, found in 1 Peter 3, I have found to be greatly convicting, especially verses 3-4. As I read these verses, I long to become this gentle and quiet woman. Oftentimes I wonder, though, what do these words really mean? What would these qualities look like lived out in daily life? How would I implement these?

Looking at the meanings of the words, brings a whole new understanding of what our adornment is to be. Gentle (or meek as used in the KJV) means gentle, meek, the positive moral quality of dealing with people in a kind manner with humility and consideration. Vine’s dictionary adds another element to this word ‘meek’ as it defines it as “gentle, of a soothing disposition” and that “Meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest; it is equanimity of spirit that is neither elated nor cast down, simply because it is not occupied with self at all.”

As ladies, then, we should strive to be calm, having a soothing nature in spirit. Our voice should be gentle and calm, not loud, boisterous, or hard. Our words should be ones of humility and gentleness, soft and kind (though not to be misunderstood as compromising or weak). Speaking the truth, but with mildness and calmness. Not seeking our own, but seeking to serve and bless others.

By the definition, another aspect of meekness is to be “neither elated, nor cast down”. These are two extremes. Things go well, one soars and is exuberant, elated. Things don’t go as one plans, one crashes and has a downcast face and spirit. But the young lady with a gentle/meek spirit will not have these extremes in her character. Instead it will be: things go well, she praises the Lord. Things do not go well, she praises the Lord. She knows that He will work in both of the circumstances for His glory.

'Quiet' is a word closely associated with meekness and it refers to the spirit or disposition of a person. The Websters 1828 Dictionary of the English Language defines 'quiet' (as used in 1 Peter 3:3-4) as peaceable; not turbulent; not giving offense; not exciting controversy, disorder or trouble; mild; meek; contented.

Peaceable: Christ promises His peace to His children, not as the world gives, but a peace which passes all understanding. (John 14:27, Philippians 4:7). “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,” Colossians 3:15. This peace should reside in one’s heart no matter how terrible or heart-wrenching the circumstances. The spirit of one resting in Christ will not be turbulent when trials or difficulties arise, but will respond with calmness and tranquility, trusting in the Lord. This peace comes in knowing that our God is in control; that He loves us; that He is upholding us with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10); that He “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.

Not giving offense: It is important that we not be a stumbling block or an offense to others by not having this special quality of a gentle and quiet spirit being exhibited in our lives. (Again, not to be confused with compromising the truth). We are to be “giving no offense in anything so that the ministry will not be discredited” 2 Corinthians 6:3 and “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Romans 12:18. One thought given in the Vine’s dictionary is that offense refers to something which leads others into error or sin. If we are exhibiting the opposite of a gentle and quiet spirit, this could easily happen as others respond to us.

To be continued . . .

-Posted by Sarah

Thursday, December 20, 2007


As I was reading in 1 Corinthians this morning, one of the verses greatly blessed me, and I thought that I would share it here.

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 15:58

The word "always" seemed to jump out at me. Always abounding in the work of the Lord. No matter how tired, no matter what circumstances are; always. The work of the Lord will be those things that are in accordance to Scripture, thus being obedient to Him. Our goal, our aim, should be, like Christ, to "always do the things that are pleasing to Him [God]." John 8:29b.

-Posted by Sarah

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

"A Gracious Woman . . ."

“A gracious woman attains honor, and ruthless men attain riches.” Proverbs 11:16

Graciousness is such a beautiful aspect of godly womanhood! As ladies desiring to be obedient to the Lord, we should be striving to implement this into our daily lives. In looking at the definition of the word gracious, you can see that it is a very broad topic and covers many aspects of our character.

Gracious – Favorable; kind; benevolent; merciful; disposed to forgive offenses and impart unmerited blessings. Expressing kindness and favor. Virtuous, good. Excellent.

"Let your speech always be with grace..." Colossians 4:6

One of the areas that we personally have been focusing on at this time is having graciousness in our speech. A paragraph in the book Dear Princess blessed us in regards to this.

Do Speak:
-Sweet words that edify.
-Kind words that comfort.
-Warm words that sympathize.
-Sincere words that encourage.
-Honest words that shun even the hint of deceit.
-Words that show mercy and compassion.
-Words that show humility and gentleness.
-Words that are loving, kind, and unselfish.

Don’t Speak:
-Words that embarrass.
-That are unkind, rude, or blunt.
-That are spiteful or bitter.
-That are gushy and insincere.
-That show pride in yourself and your way of doing things.

*Although we do not necessarily agree with all that is written in Dear Princess, we have been greatly blessed by much of it.

-Posted by Sarah and Leah

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

To deny. What does it mean?

Words. There are thousands of them, yet each one has a specific meaning. How many words, though, do we use in regular day to day life that we do not truly know the meanings of? We have often been surprised when doing word studies to learn the meaning of certain words that our family regularly uses. Many times, the meaning is so much deeper and more encompassing than what we had ever thought.

One of these words is the word 'deny'. Last year, our family studied the word deny in regard to the Scripture passages that use that word and as a result, we discovered that two different Greek words are translated into English as the same word 'deny'. One, arneomai, means - to deny, disown, renounce, repudiate; to say no, etc. The other, aparneomai, is a strengthened form of arneomai, meaning 'to deny utterly'. Utterly, as defined by the Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, means to the full extent; fully; perfectly; totally.

The majority of the words 'deny' and its various forms (denies, denied, etc.) in our English translations are translated from the Greek word arneomai, but what we found interesting is that the stronger word, aparneomai - to deny utterly, is used in Mark 8:34: "And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.'"

Realizing this led us into an in-depth study on what does it truly mean to deny ourselves in order to follow Christ. It is to deny ourselves utterly, completely; to not do anything simply for self-pleasure, but only for the purpose of either glorifying our God in heaven, or edifying our brothers and sisters in the Lord. If it is not fulfilling these purposes, it is of self and anything of self and not of the Lord is sin. This is a convicting thought! And one that, for us anyway, needs a lot of examination of our hearts to see what areas of our lives we are still satisfying our own pleasures and not serving the Lord fully and completely.

We should be asking ourselves these and similar questions: Why am I doing this particular task? What is my heart attitude? Am I doing this as a service to others and to God or simply because I want to do it? Why am I reading the Scriptures? Because I know I need to, or because my heart is eager to learn and grow in my walk with Christ? Trying to develop this "examiner's heart" in our lives is somewhat difficult, as every thought, facial expression, spoken word, action, activity, etc., all need to be examined closely through the light of God's Word to see if we are being obedient to Him. Truly denying oneself begins in the heart and it takes conscious effort. We need to be constantly "taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5); and to have the attitude "which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5) being holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16).

This past year has truly been enlightening for us, but we also are seeing how much of our time is spent in satisfying our own selfish and often petty desires. After the examination and discovery of areas of self in our lives, comes the surrender of these to Christ. The cry of our hearts is that we rest in our Savior. That as we go through our day, it will be less of us and more of Him. What joy to know that His promise is true that if we give our heart and will fully to Him, He will guide us in the path of Truth. May we, as "bondslaves" of God, strive to continue growing in our Lord, to "also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith," (Hebrews 12:1-2a) so that we may be presented to our Bridegroom, "pure and spotless".

-Posted by Sarah and Leah