Monday, January 30, 2006

The Beauty of Gentleness

(*Thank you to Iris for hosting this week's Carnival of Beauty. Click HERE to find links to nine blogs focusing on Gentleness.)

Have you ever been around someone you’d describe as gentle? Kindness and consideration ooze from her pores. Things that would cause you to snap or rebuke someone harshly only slightly ruffle her feathers. Gentleness is in her nature.

When I attended the Girls Auxiliary program as a young girl, I had a teacher I could count on to be tenderhearted, never raising her voice. With about fifteen chatty and sometimes catty young girls in her care, she epitomized a gentle lady. Even when we ‘acted up’ and tried her patience, she never lost control.

Being a gentle person does not mean you’re a doormat. It only means having strength under control. The original Greek word Prautes is used of domestic animals whose great strength has been reined in and brought under control.

Since gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), it should be an element of our new nature. God will lovingly help us along our path as Christians and help us develop this fruit, either by His example or through difficult trials. We learn to lean on God’s goodness and depend on His gracious ways to bring us through.

Jesus said, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30)."

We find our perfect example in Jesus Christ. A gentle Christian submits his strength to God. Jesus submitted Himself to God. Think of the time Jesus went into the Temple and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. Or how about when He commanded demons to leave. Jesus was under control.

Peter wrote a woman’s beauty should not be the outer beauty of hairstyles or fine clothing. We should concentrate instead on our “inner beauty with the imperishability of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God's eyes (I Peter 3:4).” In our culture of plastic surgery and designer clothes, it can be difficult to concentrate on the inner beauty, but think of the value in God’s eyes!

I hope to be like Jesus and my teacher – someone who maintains a gentle spirit – no matter what life throws at me. I have my own class every Sunday, but I teach adults. Now I wouldn’t think they’d ever act up. Or would they?

Prayer: Lord, thank you for Your kindness toward humankind, and for providing an example of gentleness for me to follow. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Monday, January 9, 2006

Extreme Makeover

It seems every magazine for women I see has at least one article promising a total makeover. "If you’ll follow these ten steps, you can change your body!”

Or the tips might target the home or finances. The makeovers for the body usually have the reader changing her diet, initiating or changing her exercise plan, and to the extreme, undergoing plastic surgery.

I’m all for taking care of our bodies. The temporal dwelling in which we live is the temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19 (New International Version), “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.” As Christians, I believe we should do our best to take care of the temple. Don’t you?

But I don’t want to get so caught up in the temporal that I forget the eternal. One day I’ll trade in this body. God has a makeover in mind that’s totally extreme!

The Contemporary English Version of the Bible puts it this way, “Our dead and decaying bodies will be changed into bodies that won't die or decay. The bodies we now have are weak and can die. But they will be changed into bodies that are eternal. Then the Scriptures will come true, "Death has lost the battle!” (1 Corinthians 15:53-54 cev)

And then my made over body will go to a home that needs no makeover, Heaven. Are you ready to go?

Prayer: Lord, thank You for this body I dwell in. May I be faithful to honor You and serve You with this body until I’m transformed to live in Your presence and in my heavenly home. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Temporal Currents

I'm pleased to announce my inclusion in a new book.

Press Release:

Temporal Currents is an inspirational poetry collection edited and compiled by Christine Tricarico, widely published poet and editor. This collection features 45 poems by Donna J. Shepherd, Hope Galvan, Victor Jasti, and other wonderful poets from around the globe. This collection is intended to reach out, inspire people of all ages, and evoke a sense of peace, wonderment and spirituality in each of us. Temporal Currents is the perfect gift for all ages!

Click here for order information.

Smelly Saints

(*First posted 1-2-05)

The Law appoints priests who have weaknesses. But God's promise, which came later than the Law, appoints his Son. And he is the perfect high priest forever. - Hebrews 7:28 (cev)

Audio Version:
this is an audio post - click to play

Have you ever burnt popcorn in your microwave? Let me tell you, it’s not a good thing.

The other night my husband tried a new brand of low-fat popcorn. He misread the instructions, and the next thing we knew, the kitchen looked like a fog had descended, and the most obnoxious odor filled the air.

I’ve tried for three days to get rid of the lingering smell. I burned candles, but the sweetness of the candles couldn’t overcome the stench. I’ve tried lemon juice, vinegar – you name it. I didn’t realize how often we use the microwave. Every time we fire up the thing, we get a fresh wave of that horrible odor.

Throughout the Old Testament, the sense of smell often refers to a sacrifice. Every day, the Temple needed to be cleansed by the burning of incense and the sacrificing of animals. The burnt offerings were referred to as a sweet fragrance in the nostrils of God.

Do you know what stinks to God? Sin. In Genesis 19:13 (nlt), the angel of the Lord said of Sodom and Gomorrah’s sin, “For we will destroy the city completely. The stench of the place has reached the LORD, and he has sent us to destroy it."

Jesus became the perfect sacrifice for our sins. His blood and God’s acceptance of it makes it possible for us to repent and be saved when we acknowledge Jesus as our Savior. “Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.”Hebrews 7:27 niv

I thought I’d tried everything to rid my house of the odor, and then my husband said, “Oh, I forgot. I laid one of the cloths I used to wipe out the microwave in the laundry room.”

The laundry room is only a few feet from the kitchen. No wonder I couldn’t get rid of the smell. When we repent, we must repent of all our sins. As burning the candles couldn’t hide the bad smell, covering up sin doesn’t hide it from God. Only when we present ourselves as living sacrifices to God will true repentance become a sweet aroma to God.

In order to completely remove the odor, my husband wants to get rid of the microwave. Aren’t you glad God didn’t just throw us out? In His love, He provided the Way to save us.

I can’t throw out an almost-perfectly good appliance. I’m much too practical for that. I hope I can save it.

Prayer: God, I thank You that Jesus sacrificed His life for me. I pray I will be a sweet smelling savor as I sacrifice my life to You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Click here for the beautiful lyrics of “Broken and Spilled Out,” written by Gloria Gaither and Bill George. Copyright 1984 Gaither Music Co./Yellow House Music (ASCAP)

*This devo is also on To read more, click here!
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