"Daily frame me more and more into the likeness of Thy Son, Jesus Christ." - George Washington

Monday, June 28, 2010

The {Fruit} of the Spirit

   I've been mulling a certain issue over in my mind for several days now, something that has caused me to fret, and has carried my feelings too far. It has caused me to turn my face to God and ask questions of myself. What attribute of God am I doubting? Has this issue taken God's place in my thought life? Has it been dominating my actions and interactions with other people? It is an issue that God has convicted me of idolizing. I have worked hard on surrendering it to God, because I know now is not the proper time to focus on it. And now He has presented my faltering, deceptive heart a chance to turn this issue back to Him. {I would appreciate your prayers.}

   Anyway, what I would like to say is that in my meditations, God has given me new meat to chew and things to do. And I would like to share them with you. =^)

   If you have been reading my blog in the past month, you might know that I have written a few posts about facts over feelings. About how emotions aren't the cause, but the result. Since my emotions have been troubling me more lately, I have the chance to practice what I preach. Today, about an hour ago in fact, I was reading my Bible and pondering the fruit of the Spirit. Going through the list, they at first appear to be emotions:  love, joy, peace... And in fact emotions are involved with some of these. But then you get to actions:  patience, kindness, goodness... And mindsets, or behaviors:  faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. What is the dealio? Are they all emotions? Or are they all behaviors? Or just a mish-mash of it all?

   Most people look at the list and see all the attributes they would like to improve on. They make a checklist out of it and start working hard to be more patient or kind. But how to go about being patient or kind... do you try to feel more patient? How often does a situation come along where you fail and become discouraged because you weren't patient like you were trying to be?

   I think what God has shown me is that the fruit of the Spirit is FRUIT! It is the result of abiding in Christ, the vine. Good fruit is the result of pruning by God, the vine-dresser. The conclusion that my mom and I came to was that abiding in Christ and having fruit in your life is finding knowledge, or truth, and having the appropriate actions, based on that knowledge or truth. 

   For example, once in awhile, I have the obligation to get up at 5:30am and prepare for work. I know that God has given me a good job, that by getting up early I have extra time to myself and a great start to my day, and that morning is basically the most beautiful part of a day. But then I have a choice. I can focus on the negative side (lack of sleep... um. Honestly not much else. lol) and have a crabby attitude. My actions will follow my attitude... I will probably have a crabby, lazy, unproductive morning.

   Or, I can choose to focus on the positive. I can have a productive morning, a good cup of joe, get my private devotions done early, and have the rest of the afternoon all to myself. And fruit will come of that, namely, joy, peace, faithfulness and self-control. Is this making sense?

   I believe that this can be applied to all the fruits of the Spirit. Galatians says  "And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."  What is the opposite of peace? Worry and stress. First, put away worry and stress, which make us dependent on ourselves. Then focus on the knowledge that God is all-powerful. He is in control and that nothing happens outside of His plan. Then live that truth. Let your actions reflect the fact that God is in control. Walk in the Spirit.

   I challenge you to do something that I am working on. I have written all 9 fruits of the Spirit in my journal. I am going to look up their definitions, and also note the sinful, opposite attributes. I am going to find truth about God that applies to each fruit, such as God's omniscience relating to peace, and His good plan and perfect timing for patience. And finally find ways for me to walk daily, based on those truths.

CSN Giveaway

Giveaway time! I have never, ever tried one of these before, so I signed up for the giveaway on this blog and promised to blog about it. The blog author is giving away a $60 gift certificate for CSN, and all you have to do is become a follower of hers, and leave a comment about it. That's all! The deadline is July 4th, and she'll announce the winner on July 5th. Have fun, and good luck! =)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Friday Night :: The Art Festival

This is Xavier Nuez, one of my favorite photographers. I saw his work last year at the downtown art festival and was completely impressed, so I looked him up eventually and found his website and blog. I was excited to finally meet him and get to hear about his passion in person.

In case you hadn't noticed the photos in the background, his photography takes him to different parts of town. He has been able to find beauty and serenity in the slums and alleyways of the darkest cities. He wanders into abandoned parts of town in the middle of the night to capture glimpses of things forgotten -- places with many stories to tell, and no one to tell them. He has been to places such as Detroit, Chicago, and Compton. He's had countless run-ins with policemen and gangs, some encounters friendly and inspiring, others... not so much. But what I enjoy most about his work is that he is pursuing his passion, as odd as it may look to others. He loves his job so much, he never has to go to work. You don't have to have a degree and a desk job to get along in life.

If you ever happen to read this, Xavier Nuez, thank you so much for taking time to answer my questions. And thank you so much for the magnet! Someday, when I'm not on a minimum wage, I'll finally buy a piece of your work. I pray that you continue to enjoy your work, inspiring others, and that God blesses you in all your endeavors.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cody, I Thought You Had Lost Me

My little Cody (one of the 3 boys I nanny) is growing up! And so fast, I hadn't even realized it. How unutterably sad, and joyful.

This is Cody, back when I first started baby-sitting them. Maybe almost 2 years ago! He was just learning to talk and could only say 'bye' and 'bloppley' (brother, meaning Kaden). He was so short and roly poly, and had the most adorable blonde curls.

This is Cody just a few weeks ago. So bright and whip smart. Getting taller, and more athletic. Not half as shy and clingy as he use to be. Loves to show things off when he meets people. Last week, his family visited my church and it was one of the boys' first experiences in sitting through a sermon. (They home-church with some other families). They all did so well, but at one point, we all heard Cody say "*sigh* Okay, I'll be kliett." [quiet]. ^.^

I'm not trying to be biased, I love all the boys, but Cody is the one I've seen grow the most. Kaden, I don't get to see so much because he's at school. Jackson is still a baby, under a year old. But Cody is the little one I used to rock to sleep when we baby-sat, and who still asks me to read books. He still loves to sit on my lap, and still loves "Cars" the movie. It has tickled me to see how fast he's grown. I pray that he will be a kind and courageous man of God someday.

Friday, June 18, 2010

My Proverbs 31 Woman

From the movie "National Velvet". My favorite character was Mrs. Brown. She had such wisdom and grace. Keep Proverbs 31 in mind as you watch. =)

Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
Proverbs 31:25-26

(Don't forget to pause the music in the sidebar. Sorry that the sound is off, I couldn't find any better movies.)

Just For Kicks

Some of my favorite pictures from Wednesday night's car show.

Bennigan's:  great food, great cars!

Quite a few Camaros, old and new.

My new favorite sporty car. =) It's pretty tight.

The Chevy Bel-Air is one of my favorite classic cars, and there were several there. The best one was a black one with red accents.

A piece-of-junk car, but with a lot of character. =)

An Opel Manta. My brother says if it's from Germany, it's a really foreign car. (Meaning there aren't a lot of them to be found here in America.) Any thoughts?

The only thing I don't like about this picture is that it's off-center. Quite a few of my pictures ended up a little too far to the left actually. But it still looks pretty neat.

For real? O.o

That's one point of view...

And this is another. Ha ha

On the way home again. As small as downtown Des Moines is, the skyline isn't too shabby.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I Spy

2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

My best friend, Kristina, and I went to a car show last night. My dad has a black all-original 1940 Chevrolet so I used to go to these car shows with him all the time. It's been a year or two though and Kristina had never been to one so I invited her along. I took my camera, she had her phone, and we tried to see how many pictures we could get of our reflections in the mirrors, paint or chrome. =) Have fun.

The dash of my dad's '40 Chevy.

Kris and I in front of the '40 Chevy.

A peach Chevy Bel-Air.

Not a very flattering picture, lol.

I love white-wall tires.

A hearse, the Boothill Express. =)

A tight little hot rod.

Methinks 'tis a royal blue Chevy Bel-Air.

I'm afraid to say I look rather demented... lol.

Maybe a little trickier. I liked all the rusty chrome. (Because I love vintage things.)

I love my new Sperry's Topsiders. =)

A pick-up with a hot paint job.

 The end of a good evening. =) I love you Kristina.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Felix got a bath today. He must have rolled in something, but he needed one anyway. Hope these make you chuckle. =)

Oh, The Places To Go

Someday, I would love to go to...

Because I have read about it, and would love to see the land and learn the history.

Because it is mysterious... and I was asked on a date by a Moroccan.

{New Orleans} 
Because all the photos I've ever seen are simply breathtaking. It is so diverse, so weathered and charming.

Because I am 3/4 German on my mom's side. My great-grandparents were raised German-speaking.

Because it is an infamous battlefield of the Great War, WWI.

{Prince Edward Island} 
Because it is in Canada... and where Anne of Green Gables took place.

{Rhode Island} 
Because I would love to visit New England and Rhode Island seems like the most interesting state. You can drive across it in 40 minutes.

Because it is bordering Canada, and I would like to cruise there and watch the sunsets. I want to know what it's like to be perpetually day.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Be The Change

One of the speakers at TeenPact National Convention. He is 18 now, but still passionate. Take a look into his cause, maybe consider raising some money for him via your local homeschool co-op, VBS, or church.

(Don't forget to pause the music first)

One of Zach's books: Be The Change

What Is Love?

   What is love? Is it an emotion? Emotions have been on my mind a lot lately. I'm not an emotional person, that would be the one thing I dislike about being feminine. We ride emotional roller coasters, we go through emotional highs and lows, emotional extremes. We look at a guy and go all the way emotionally ("First Christmas!" Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.) We have emotional breakdowns. We can fall to pieces simply watching a movie. But is love that warm fuzzy feeling that makes your heart flutter? No, it is the result. It is hormones and endorphins reacting to something lovely. If something as pointless as a movie can make you go from hysterically happy to swimming in tears, then we shouldn't rely on that warm fuzzy feeling.

   I just started reading a book today called Philippians ~ Christ, the Source of Joy and Strength, by John MacArthur. It's from a Bible study I'm planning on attending this week, and I thought I would get caught up on my homework. Going through it, I found some verses and definitions that define true love so perfectly, I had to share them with you! So this is just a prelude to the verses and definitions. I will leave them with you to meditate on, versus my further expounding. I hope God shows you something new, and draws you nearer to Himself.

Philippians 1:9-11 ~ And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in {knowledge} and all {discernment}, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be {sincere and without offense} till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
in knowledge (v.9) -- This is from the Greek word that describes genuine, full, or advanced knowledge. Biblical love is not an empty sentimentalism but is anchored and regulated by the truth of Scripture. (see Ephesians 5:2-3, 1 Peter 1:22)
discernment (v.9) --  Moral perception, insight, and the practical application of knowledge. Love is not blind but perceptive, and it carefully scrutinizes to distinguish between right and wrong.
sincere and without offense (v.10) -- "Sincere" means "genuine," and may have originally meant "tested by sunlight." In the ancient world, dishonest pottery dealers filled cracks in their inferior products with wax before glazing and painting them, making worthless pots difficult to distinguish from expensive ones. The only way to avoid being defrauded was to hold the pot to the sun, making the wax-filled cracks obvious. Dealers marked their fine pottery that could withstand "sun testing" as sine cera, "without wax." "Without offense" can be translated "blameless," referring to the relational integrity. Christians are to live lives of true integrity that do not cause others to sin.

From the book Philippians ~ Christ, the Source of Joy and Strength
by John MacArthur
published by Thomas Nelson
copyright 2007

Monday, June 7, 2010

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Praise to the Lord

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near
Praise Him in glad adoration 

Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth
Hast thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth
 Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do
If with His love He befriend thee

Praise to the Lord, who, when tempests their warfare are waging
Who, when the elements madly around thee are raging
Biddeth them cease, turneth their fury to peace
Whirlwinds and waters assuaging 
Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness of sin is abounding
Who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding
Sheddeth His light, chaseth the horrors of night
Saints with His mercy surrounding 

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him
Let the Amen sound from His people again
Gladly for aye we adore Him

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Favorite Hymn

Come Thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I'm fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

Here I raise my ebenezer
  Hither by Thy help I've come
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

Oh to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be
Let Thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above.

This hymn holds a lot of meaning for me. My family always sings hymns in the morning before school, and there was a point in time when April, my sister, would pick this hymn every single morning. I thought it was a very annoying song at one time, now I can't get enough of it. Through this song, I learned how to deeply and truly worship.

Worship is a highly misunderstood concept nowadays. I have met several people who believe worship is getting the chills, or breaking down in tears, or feeling the urge to raise one's hands. All these things are fine, I'm not condemning holy hands, or the contriteness of tears, but these should not be your worship. They are merely results of worship. They are feelings, hormones, endorphins. They are the body's response to the atmosphere (the dim lighting, the type of music, the mood of people around you).

What is true worship then? Worship is recognizing and paying homage to someone higher than yourself. Worshiping God is finding a truth and applying it, thanking God for that truth, praising Him for it. Let's practise:

Come Thou fount of every blessing

Can you see a truth in that? What comes to my mind is that God is the source of every single blessing, good or bad. He's a fountain, His blessings are never-ending. He blesses us daily, even with the little things we ignore, like food on the table, travel mercies, an over-abundance of clothes... etc. Let's praise Him and worship Him for that!

Here's my favorite line:
Let They goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee

Have any of you ever stopped at this line and thought about what fetters are? They're handcuffs! Chains to bind a prisoner. The writer of this song loves the Lord utterly, but is distressed at how often he strays from the Lord. He knows the Lord is his source of life and blessings, the Lord is the One who brought him thus far, but his heart is prone to wander. The writer cries out "Chain me to you Lord! I don't want to leave you again. I can't stay by my own will power, You have to do it for me." This is what I earnestly pray, that I may not be allowed to stray from the Lord, but that he would handcuff me to Himself.

Hopefully now, you understand what I mean about true heartfelt worship. Not tears or emotions (the results, maybe) but finding truth and praising God for it.

Desiderio Domini
[i long to be with my savior]

My Creative Brainwave of the Month