Saturday, June 28, 2014

Fruit of the Spirit-Self-Control

“For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

This week is the final devotion on my Fruit of the Spirit Series! It has been a fun, yet sometimes hard, journey doing my first blog series and I hope to do many more! Now on to this week’s subject, self-control!

The Bible wants us to control ourselves, our human desires and to do as the Spirit inside us wants us to do so that we can glorify God. We have to ‘let the Spirit direct [our] lives’ (Gal. 5:16) so we will do only the good things that God wants us to do. It’s difficult to do this, however, without the help of God’s Spirit. We must use His help to control our fleshly desires because our flesh and God’s Spirit are always going to be against each other. ‘For what our human nature wants is opposed to what the Spirit wants, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to what our human nature wants. These two are enemies, and this means that you cannot do what you want to do.’-Gal. 5:17. Since Jesus is our Savior, we must allow His Spirit to control our lives. (Gal. 5:25)
We must ‘keep [ourselves] in training for a godly life’ (1 Tim. 4:7). Titus 2:2-6 tells both older and younger men and women to be self-controlled. Because of God’s grace, we should ‘give up ungodly living and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this world’ (Titus 2:11-12) to show that we are God’s children through Jesus’ death on the cross and our belief and salvation in Him. We must let ‘God transform [us] inwardly by a complete change’ (Rom. 12:2) so that our flesh cannot rule over us. We need to let God’s Spirit rule over us and every decision we make is to be made on the wisdom of God’s Spirit in us, not on the desires of our human nature. Our minds and thoughts should always be filled ‘with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.’ (Phil. 4:8) 1 Corinthians 6:18 tells us to ‘avoid immorality’ because it is a sin ‘against [our] own bod[ies]’
Paul tells the Corinthians in his first letter that we should be like athletes and runners who strive for the prize. They keep their bodies and desires in check so that they can compete and win the prize. ‘I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest.’ (1 Cor. 9:24-27) If we don’t keep our flesh in line with the Spirit, all of our work here on earth for the Kingdom of God may come to nothing because we didn’t listen to God when He told us to ‘let the Spirit direct’ us. We need to listen to God and His will, which ‘is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect’ (Rom. 12:2). ‘Run, then, in such a way as to win the prize.’ (1 Cor. 9:24) The greatest prize of them all: entering the Kingdom of God, having eternal life with our Father, and being crowned with ‘the glorious crown which will never lose its brightness.’ (1 Peter 4:5)
“The end of all things is near. You must be self-controlled and alert, to be able to pray.” 1 Peter 4:7
P.S. Did you enjoy this series? Did it help you in your journey with the Lord? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Fruit of the Spirit-Gentleness

“Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised!” Matthew 5:5
Gentleness is also translated as humility and meekness in the GNT version and the AMP version respectively. Gentleness is not only a trait that women should work towards (1 Peter 3:4) but also a virtue that men should possess and it’s mentioned twice in one book-1 Tim. 3:3 and 6:11.
I believe being humble also means to be submissive to others, especially those in authority that God has put over us. Titus 3:1-2 says ‘Remind your people to submit to rulers and authorities, to obey them, and to be ready to do good in every way. Tell them not to speak evil of anyone, but to be peaceful and friendly, and always to show a gentle attitude toward everyone.’ This is repeated again in Philippians 4:5, word for word: ‘Show a gentle attitude toward everyone.’
God wants us to be gentle when we answer others or help them. 1 Peter 3:15-16: ‘But have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and honor him as Lord. Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, but do it with gentleness and respect. Keep your conscience clear so that when you are insulted, those who speak evil of your good conduct as followers of Christ will become ashamed of what they say.’ When we help others or correct them when they are doing wrong, it should be done ‘in a gentle way’ (Gal. 6:1). 1 Timothy 2:24b-25 says ‘You must be kind toward all, a good and patient teacher, who is gentle as you correct your opponents, for it may be that God will give them the opportunity to repent and come to know the truth.’ All should know we are God’s children by the way we act and talk to others. If someone finds out you’re a Christian and they’re surprised by that, then you need to change your ways!
Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:29 that He is ‘gentle and humble in spirit’ and since we should emulate Him, we should be humble and gentle in our spirits as well. ‘Because he was humble and devoted, God heard him.’(Heb. 5:7) If we are humble and devoted to God, willing to follow Him wherever He wants to lead us, then He will hear us when we cry out to Him and ‘will lift [us] up’. (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6) We will be the ‘greatest in the Kingdom of heaven’ when we humble ourselves like children or servants (Matt. 18:4, 20:26-28, 23:12). So we should ‘submit to God and accept the word that he plants in [our] hearts’ for our own salvation (James 1:21).
God wants us to be humble, never proud or boastful. James 4:6 and 16 tells us that ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’ (also says that in 1 Peter 5:5) and that ‘boasting is wrong.’ Romans 12:16 tells us ‘not to be proud but accept humble duties.’ So we shouldn’t be proud in our spirits or in our daily lives or jobs. We shouldn’t think of ourselves ‘more highly’ than we really are and should always judge ourselves on the ‘amount of faith that God has given’ to each of us (Romans 12:3).
“So then, submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will run away from you.” James 4:7

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fruit of the Spirit-Faithfulness

“For our life is a matter of faith, not of sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7
I’m going to start off by saying that this post is going to deal more with being faithful, rather than having faith, as faith is a subject apart from the fruit of the Spirit. Faith is something that should be discussed on its own and given its own series (or at least be separate from the fruit of the Spirit.)
1 Thessalonians 5:24 and 2 Thessalonians 3:3 tells us that Jesus ‘is faithful’ and since we are called to be like Jesus, we should be faithful like Him. Jesus is faithful, because our Father is faithful and He is a part of God. God is always faithful to keep His promises and to care for us.
The first half of Colossians 1:23 tells us we should ‘continue faithful on a firm and sure foundation, and must not allow [ourselves] to be shaken from the hope you gained when you heard the gospel.’ That ‘firm and sure foundation’ is Jesus. We should always keep our faith in Him and the hope we have in our salvation through our belief in Jesus as our Savior. Our hope is our future home waiting for us in Heaven.
We should always remain faithful to God and the callings He’s given us. 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 tells us, ‘You should think of us as Christ’s servants, who have been put in charge of God’s secret truths. The one thing required of such servants is that they be faithful to their master.’ No matter what seasons of life we’re going through, or the trials or triumphs they bring, we should always be faithful to God, because He will always be faithful to us. Romans 12:6 tells us that we should always ‘use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God has given us.’ I believe that means we should remain faithful to our callings. God has called each of us to do His Will and it should be done with all our might.
Trials should always prove us faithful. ‘Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him.’ (James 1:12) James instructs us to remain faithful during our trials and tests. Some of our trials are due to our poor choices but we should still remain faithful to God because if we let them, they will always bring us closer to Him. Our reward for our faithfulness to Him and keeping the faith is our hope, our eternal life in Heaven.
“This calls for endurance on the part of God’s people, those who obey God’s commandments and are faithful to Jesus.” Revelation 14:12

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Fruit of the Spirit-Goodness

“So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest. So then, as often as we have the chance, we should do good to everyone, and especially to those who belong to our family in the faith.” Galatians 6:9-10
The fruits of kindness and goodness go hand in hand. They are even synonyms of each other! We can’t be good to others if we first don’t decide to be kind to them. Goodness is showing others the love of God by caring for them the way Jesus cares for them. Hebrews 10:24 says, ‘Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good.’ Titus 2:14 tells us that Jesus ‘gave himself for us’ so that we would ‘belong to him alone’ and would be ‘eager to do good.’
Jesus died not only to save us from eternal torment and separation from God, but He also ‘called us to be his own people, not because of what we have done, but because of his own purpose and grace.’ (2 Tim. 1:9) We should always be ready to do His Will and follow His example by caring for others and being good to them. If you are good, everyone will know by the fruit of your labor and mouth (Matt. 7:17-19, 12:33-35) 1 Thessalonians 5:15 tells us to ‘aim to do good to one another and to all people.’ Ephesians 2:10 tells us that through ‘our union with Christ Jesus’, God has already ‘created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.’ There are things out there that God wants us to do and people He wants us to touch and lead to His Son, their Savior, but we have to be willing to follow His Will and be His hands and feet!
We should do good deeds because it is one way to show the love of God and to put His teachings and example into practice. We don’t need to be good and obey the Law of Moses in order to save ourselves because Jesus has already saved us. Nothing we could do would be enough to make up for the sin in our lives. So Jesus came to save us from that sin and make us right with God through our faith in Him, not by our actions. (Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-10; Titus 3:4-5). Ephesians 5:10 tells us to ‘learn what pleases the Lord’ and Hebrews 13:16 gives us one answer: ‘Do not forget to do good and to help one another, because these are the sacrifices that please God.’
He does warn us, however, not to do our good deeds publicly, but privately so that we will get a much greater reward from our Father in Heaven and not the fleeting respect from the people of this world. Ephesians 6:8 reminds us that ‘the Lord will reward each of us…for the good work we do.’ We should always strive for God’s rewards and His approval, not those of the people around us. Only God should be glorified through our good works and not ourselves (Matt. 5:16, 6:1).
There are people around you that only you can help bring to God because He made you for that purpose. There are things that need to be done by you and you alone. We must get to work, doing good and helping bring the people of this dying world to life. We never know when Jesus will come, so we must make sure the time we have left isn’t wasted on the things of this world but on doing the will of God.
‘But you, friends, must not become tired of doing good.’ 2 Thessalonians 3:13

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Fruit of the Spirit-Kindness

“Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.” Ephesians 4:32
I think kindness is love in action. 1 John 3:18 says, ‘love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.’  When you are kind to others, you put their needs before your own. You sacrifice yourself and your plans to do what the other person needs. It’s not always easy for me to do this, but thankfully I don’t have to do it all on my own! Through ‘fellowship with the Spirit’ we ‘have kindness and compassion for one another.’ (Phil. 2:1) We should be kind to others, even when they don’t deserve it. We should also return kind words for harsh ones and never let our attitudes mirror the attitudes of this world (1 Cor. 4:13; Rom. 12:2)
Through our kindness to others, we show we are ‘God’s servants.’ (2 Cor. 6:6) In telling the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus gave us another example to look at for kindness, the first one being Him coming to die for us, even though we didn’t deserve it! This man, who was looked down upon by the very man he helped, went out of his way, used his own animal, belongings, and money to care for someone he didn’t know. Kindness is going the extra mile to care for someone in need, showing God’s love for them through our deeds (Matt. 5:42; 7:12). Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6 twice in Matthew; once in 9:13 and again in 12:7, showing kindness to be a quality God desires for His children to show. God desires us to be kind, not to try and make ourselves holy.
When we are kind, we should speak life into other’s lives and build them up with our words, not tear them down or gossip about them (Eph. 4:29). We must be honest, but never rude, short-tempered, or uncaring. Galatians 6:1 says, ‘if someone is caught in any kind of wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should set him right; but you must do it in a gentle way. And keep an eye on yourselves, so that you will not be tempted, too.’ We should always take care not to force change on someone when we believe they are doing wrong. We must pray for them and let the Holy Spirit convict them. We don’t want to forget the log in our own eye and exam the speck in someone else’s (Matt. 7:3-5)!
‘To conclude: you must all have the same attitude and the same feelings; love one another, and be kind and humble with one another.’ 1 Peter 3:8

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Fruit of the Spirit-Patience

“Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another.” Ephesians 4:2

I’ll readily admit that I’m not very patient, but I am working on it. It’s gotten better, working with the public, but I’m not sure I would be recognized as a patient person. I interrupt, rush, and get frustrated very quickly. But I’m working on it and praying about it and, by God’s grace, I will get better.
By nature, we’re not very patient people and the world we live in now is not helping. We want everything and we want it now! Everything is instant, faster, and readily available. But when we become a Christian, flipping out over how long the drive thru is taking isn’t an option. (I’m talking to myself here too.) As I mentioned, waiting is not one of my favorite things to do! ;)  But God is good! He gives us chances and opportunities to exercise patience. He reminds us of His Word when we study it and commit it to memory. He doesn’t give up on us when we’re taking too long to follow His Will. I was recently given the opportunity to exercise my patience and honestly, I’m failing. It’s been very difficult to wait to move into a house that’s yours but I must be patient. It’s going to be difficult but this is something I need to work on so I’m focusing on the positives of waiting to move into our new house.

We’re reminded in Romans 15:5 that God is our ‘source of patience’. Through Him, we can exercise patience. I’ve found that patience is divided into different segments:

1)    Waiting on the Lord--Hebrews 10:36, 37: ‘You need to be patient, in order to do the will of God and receive what he promises. For, as the scripture says, “Just a little while longer, and he who is coming will come; he will not delay.”’ We must have patience to wait for God and His perfect timing. ‘As for us, our hope is that God will put us right with him; and this is what we wait for by the power of God’s Spirit working through our faith.’ (Gal. 5:5) Our patience is only made possible through our faith in Him.

2)    Waiting for His Second Coming--James 5:7-8: ‘Be patient, then, my friends, until the Lord comes. See how patient farmers are as they wait for their land to produce precious crops. They wait patiently for the autumn and spring rains. You also must be patient. Keep your hopes high, for the day of the Lord’s coming is near.’  What a great day that will be! When Jesus finally returns for His followers and takes us home with Him forever more! That’s hard to wait for but like all good things, it’s worth the wait!

3)    During trials and tribulations--James 1:3-4: ‘for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.’ Even though it’s hard to think trials are good for us while it’s happening, they are, even if they hurt at the time. We must endure through them to be refined and shaped to be like Christ. Not all trials are tests from God. Some come as the result of our bad choices. Thankfully, God is there, waiting for us to come back to Him. His love for us is never-ending and neither is His patience.

4)    With each other--Eph. 4:2: ‘Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another.’ God wants us to show His love to the world by being like Jesus. Jesus humbled Himself to be like a servant (Phil. 2:7-8), He was gentle (Matt. 11:29), and very patient (Rom. 2:4). Colossians 3:12-13 says: ‘You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you.’

‘But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.’ Romans 8:25

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Fruit of the Spirit--Peace

Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” John 14:27

When I started working on this, I was very frustrated and I felt rushed from not having much time left to work on it. I wrote in my prayer journal and prayed while listening to praise songs and the irritation slowly left me. God used my frustration and irritation to work for me so that I could write to you from experience! Just like it says in Phil. 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.”  Granted, I didn’t have a very thankful heart at that moment, but I poured out my heart to God and asked Him for His peace and calm. I listened to my praise songs playlist, really trying to focus on the words of the songs and the verses I was looking up. I was then able to concentrate. Prayer and praise are very important tools for the Christian that should be used frequently, every day. 1 Cor. 14:33 says “God does not want us to be in disorder but in harmony and peace.”

I believe there’s a reason peace comes directly after joy in the list on the Fruit of the Spirit. You can’t have peace without having joy. When was the last time you were angry and it made you peaceful? Obviously, that doesn’t work for me. J Many greetings throughout the New Testament begin as “Peace be with you” as well as many concluding statements in the letters written to the churches.  Peace is given through Jesus, much like joy. Romans 5:1 says, “Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace through our Lord Jesus Christ.” True peace, the peace that doesn’t come from this temporary world, but from our eternal Savior, comes from Him. John 16:33 tells us, “I have told you this so that you will have peace by being united to me. The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” Through the suffering and trials we go through, the peace of our Lord is always with us.

Romans 14:19 and 1 Peter 3:11 tell us to “strive for peace” because Jesus declared, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matt. 5:9, NIV) That command is listed again in 2 Timothy 2:22: “Avoid the passions of youth, and strive for righteousness , faith, love, and peace, together with those who with a pure heart call out to the Lord for help.” The pursuit of peace is very important to God. He doesn’t want us to unnecessarily stir things up. That’s not to say we shouldn’t stand up for our beliefs and proclaim the Word of God and its infallibility. But He wants us to do it in love, like Jesus did and like it says in Titus 3:2, “Tell them not to speak evil of anyone, but to be peaceful and friendly, and always to show a gentle attitude toward everyone.” And again in Hebrews 12:14, “Try to be at peace with everyone, and try to live a holy life, because no one will see the Lord without it.”

“May God, our source of peace, be with all of you. Amen”—Romans 15:33


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study--Joy

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11 (emphasis added)

Several times throughout the New Testament, joy is associated with the Holy Spirit so it’s no coincidence that it’s one of the fruits of the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says it simply: “Be joyful always”. Joy is our God-given happiness through our difficulties and our trials (1 Peter 4:12-14). It is a deep happiness that does not fade with time, like the ‘joy’ of this world. It is not due to our circumstances, our possessions, or our positions. It is given to us by God.

I believe there are two parts to receiving this inexpressible joy (1 Peter 1:8): coming in contact with the Holy Spirit and our belief in Jesus. I’ve come in contact with the Holy Spirit before, and let me tell you, it’s amazing! It definitely brings joy! And though it’s easier said than done, remembering that we have a future hope (Eph. 4:4 NLT) will help us to be joyful in the Lord (Phil. 4:4 NLT), even in the hardest of times. Remember, Phil. 4:13!

First, joy is found when we come in contact with or are filled by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts and fills us up, bringing us joy, even in the hard times (Luke 6:23). We experience joy when we are in His holy presence (Acts 2:28). The Kingdom of Heaven’s “about pleasing God, about living in peace, and about true happiness.” (Romans 14:17 CEV) In Luke chapter 10, we see Jesus rejoicing. Even He felt this wonderful joy as a human being! Verse 21 tells us He “was filled with joy by the Holy Spirit.” In Acts 10:52 it states, “The believers in Antioch were full of joy and the Holy Spirit.” (bold emphasis added)

Second, the hope and belief we have in our Lord also brings us joy. Just the thought of Someone loving you enough to die for you should make anyone happy! “Let your hope keep you joyful” (Romans 12:12). But truly believing in Him and Who He is and His Word brings His followers joy. “The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord.” (John 20:20b GNT) Even new believers experience the joy of the Lord from the get-go! “He and his family were filled with joy, because they now believed in God.” (Acts 16:34b)

Our hope in our Savior and the Spirit's presence is strong enough to give us joy through the toughest time. 

I think a good verse to sum up this post is Romans 15:13: May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.”(emphasis added)

“In conclusion, my friends, by joyful in your union with the Lord.” (Phil. 3:1a)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study--Love

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.—1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV (bold emphasis added)
When you think of love, what comes to mind? Valentine’s Day hearts? Your children or spouse? An expensive object? What about Jesus and all He did for us and all He went through for us? Love is not only the first fruit we receive from the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 2 Tim. 1:7), it is who God is! 1 John 4:8 says it in plain English, ‘God is love’!
There’s a reason love is the first fruit. Love is so important to God, He inspired an entire chapter dedicated to love (1 Cor. 13)! That also happens to be one of my favorite chapters. You can’t have anything else without love because without love, we are nothing and can accomplish nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3).
What is love? Here’s how Paul described love to the church in Corinth (NIV):
Patient. Kind. Forgiving (does not keep a record of wrongs). Rejoices in the truth. Protecting. Trusting. Hoping. Persevering.
What is love not? Again, here’s Paul’s description:
Envious. Boastful. Prideful. Dishonoring. Self-seeking. Easily angered. Delights in evil.
Love is the binding that holds the traits of the Christian together (Col. 3:14).
We come from God  and belong to Him if we love others and obey Him(1 John 4:7, 5:2-3) Jesus tells us we are His disciples if we love others (John 13:35).
There’s no way to be a part of God’s family and not love others (1 John 3:10). We show that we have ‘come over into life’ if we love others and are not ‘under the power of death’ (1 John 3:14). I don’t know about you, but I want to be under the power of love, not death! Love ‘shows itself in action’ (1 John 3:18), it is a choice. Jesus loved us so deeply He ‘gave his life for us. We too, then ought to give our lives for others!’ (1 John 3:16, John 15:13) and love like He loved. This doesn’t necessarily mean dying physically for someone else. It could mean denying yourself and your desires and putting others before yourself (and after Jesus of course!)
Jesus said in John 15, ‘Remain united to me, and I will remain united to you. A branch cannot bear fruit by itself; it can do so only if it remains in the vine. In the same way you cannot bear fruit unless you remain in me.’ (v. 4). The only way we can bear ‘the kind of fruit that endures’ (v. 16) is if we remain in Jesus and His love. How do we do that? By obeying Him (v. 10). He wants us to ‘love one another’ (v. 17), even our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). We have to show the love of God to others if we want to bring them to their Savior.
So, to show the fruit of love in your life, you must love others,  be patient, kind, forgiving, protecting, trusting, hoping, and persevering. You should rejoice in the truth and deny your flesh’s desire and obey Jesus to remain in Him. Ephesians 4:2 NLT says: 'Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love.'
I have barely scratched the surface of love! There is so much to the attribute of love that I couldn’t fit it all on one blog post for this study. The love of God and Christian love is something that should be studied, written and read about in depth. Maybe one day I will make a Saturday study on it but not anytime soon. I only want to work on one thing at a time so I don’t get side-tracked. J
So 'live a life filled with love' (Eph. 5:2 NLT)! Next up is JOY! :D

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Fruit of the Spirit Study Introduction

Galatians 5:22-23, NIV: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
How many of you know that old fruit of the Spirit Sunday School song? *raises hand* My parents used to play a tape (yes, a cassette tape) with Sunday School songs on it during car rides. That song is one of the few I remember. And I don’t mean the one about the coconut…
Well, I’m writing a study on those two verses in Galatians chapter 5.
I started researching fruit of the Spirit verses in early March with the wonderful YouVersion app on my Nook and the free version of the Olive Tree Bible study app on my iPod. I’m only going to be referencing verses from the New Testament since that’s when the first believers received the Spirit in Acts chapter 2. I’m going in order of the fruits and, unless otherwise noted, I will be using the Good News Translation (GNT). Why? Because I like it. It’s one of the few that are close to the way I talk so it’s easier for me to understand. If you like another version, feel free to look up the verses in your Bible or on your app. There’s no point in reading something you don’t understand because then you won’t retain the information.
The posts will be up in the morning on Saturdays following this post. I picked Saturdays for a personal reason. I get devotions emailed to me every week day morning and then there’s church on Sunday, but nothing on Saturdays! Well, not anymore! J Now there’s my Bible Study Saturdays! The study will begin next Saturday May 3, 2014.
Anyway, I will link all the posts back here as I complete them.

I hope you all enjoy reading this study and diving into God’s Word with me!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Flake Stacks

You know those haystack candies made outta Chow Mein noodles and butterscotch and peanut butter? Well, I made my own version on Saturday. I was bored and I've had the idea in my head for a while now. I call 'em Flake Stacks. They're made from Honey Bunches of Oats© and peanut butter and I added some chocolate. Why? Because everything is better with chocolate! I'm pretty sure you could use any flaky cereal in this yummy recipe.

I will warn you, it is a bit of a mess. You might want to have a plate or a paper towel under it. I'm not sure why it fell apart so much. Maybe they were too big?
Anyway, moving on! Here's the recipe! I'm not sure how long it took me to prepare it though.
  • 3 Cups of Honey Bunches of Oats © Honey Roasted
  • 9 Tablespoons of peanut butter( I used some reduced sugar peanut butter I had stuffed in my cabinet that I wasn't going to eat. It tasted good in the recipe. I just don't like it because of the added fat and calories it has to make up for the sugar loss)
  • 4 Tablespoons of semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • Cool time: 1 1/2 - 2 hours
  • Makes 15 candies

Pop the peanut butter into the microwave for 45 secs to one minute, just enough til it's liquidy.

Measure out 3 cups of cereal then add in the peanut butter.

Next, heat up the chocolate chips for 1-1 1/2 minutes until it's become a liquid. I'm sure you could use a double boiler but I don't have one of those...

Put aluminum foil down on a cookie sheet. Trust me, it'll be easier this way. Then dollop out the cereal mixture. I didn't exactly measure, but my guess is it's a heaping tablespoon full, if not 2 tablespoons.

Then drizzle the chocolate over the top. It doesn't have to be perfect. Mine certainly aren't.

Last, put the stacks in the fridge to harden for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

My hubby was bugging me to try it every half hour or so. I didn't blame him because I was excited to try it out too. As soon as I could, I took 2 out to try them. They're yummy, of course. :) I ended up leaving the rest of them in the fridge overnight. They hardened up a little bit more but not by much. I think they would have been harder if I could have put them in the freezer but I didn't have any room...
Well, that's it! If you try them, tell me what you think!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014


There's a white blanket of snow on everything outside. It started yesterday afternoon and was still going around 7 last night. I think there's about 2, maybe 3 inches of snow outside. Nothing too bad but it stuck. My guess is it'll start melting when the sun comes up. There is a winter weather advisory from for my area. I'm not too worried about the snow though. It's the way people drive around here that make me nervous. There are crazies here! Haha!

Me and my hubby went outside yesterday and walked in the snow for a bit. We exchanged a few snowballs too, until he shoved a little snow in my face. Yeah, that wasn't fun, but I did get him in the back of the head with a decent sized snowball. ;)

The 24 hour fast food restaurant I work at even closed down because of the snow. They're re-opening this morning around 7:30 but since I don't drive, I'm not going to be there. My wonderful hubby is at work though. I guess they didn't shut down since he hasn't called me to tell me his supervisors sent him home. All the schools are closed here too. Not that I care. I don't have any kids to send off or take care of.

I'm hoping to be able to do Day 2 of my exercises today. My knee is sore from Monday. I try not to do anything that would bother those joints since I have problems with them without working out. So pray for me! I don't know if I'll be able to do Day 3 at all this week because of the way my work schedule is. If I have a long day of running around working, I tend to be too tired to exercise, especially if it's going to be a bunch of cardio. Of course, I burn calories running around at my job so at least I'm doing something! :)

For now I'm just Pinning and watching cooking videos. I love food and I love learning about it. I realized the other day that while I don't want to go to culinary school, I like to cook and learn about food. I guess I just like being filled with knowledge about strange things! Haha! I get obsessed with something and I want to learn all I can about it before finding something new to learn about. But with food, I think it's going to be awhile before I run out of material! :)

Now back to my videos!

Monday, January 27, 2014

My First Day Back At Exercising!

Whew! It's been a long time since I've exercised. I could feel it. Haha! But I know it will help me in the long run. And I actually felt good today after exercising! Granted, it took me about ten minutes after I stopped, but I felt better! I don't know if it was exercise(because I know it releases something in your brain to make you feel good) or the fact that I was listening to some great Contemporary Christian music. Maybe it was both. But either way it was awesome, despite briefly getting queasy during the workout. I don't think I've ever exercised and gotten sick like that. It was weird. I'm thinking I might need to eat more about 15 minutes before my exercise session to give me time to digest. Just something to try next time.

I didn't exactly follow a routine. I just went on Pinterest and looked up different exercises and pinned them. Then I wrote down the ones I wanted to do and divided them up into three days: Day 1 is for my upper body, Day 2 is for the lower, and Day 3 is going to be HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training. You need a lot of cardio to work off extra weight. Just doing crunches and squats won't help if you're not elevating your heart rate and burning calories. Wow, I sound so smart. Except I didn't study nutrition and exercises. I just researched for myself. I think making my own work out will help me be more inclined to exercise. Plus listening to great songs like Skillet really helps! :)


Wednesday, January 22, 2014


So today at work, I notice what shouldn't exist yet. I mean, it is the middle of January and in the 20's for Pete's sake! A spider was dangling from it's web outside the window. Granted, it was tiny and barely noticeable, but I mean COME ON! I'm so not ready for these bugs!

It wasn't my only encounter with bugs today. Oh, no. A stupid gnat had the nerve to bother me during my lunch break and I was INSIDE! Please tell me I'm not the only one not ready for this...

On a better note, I'm drinking a delicious peach smoothie. I think it would be better with fresh peaches but all I had on hand was the little fruit cups in 100% juice. I mixed it up with milk and it foamed up on top. This is the second time a smoothie has done this to me recently. I need to figure out why because a smoothie shouldn't be half-foam. I'm thinking it might be the milk. Not that I think it's gone bad because it better not be. I just opened it! But I've made protein shakes in the blender with milk, the powder, and some peanut butter and they would foam up too. I thought it was the protein powder. I guess not. Stupid milk. Why does it have to separate?

Well, I guess I better finish it off before it gets warm!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2014 New Year's Resolutions!!

No, I'm not dead. So I decided to get back to blogging. I've been meaning to do this, but I just keep forgetting. I'm kind of addicted to Pinterest I can't help it. But it's helpful! It will help me with my 2014 New Year's Resolutions! Well, at least some of them. Here they are! In no specific order:

My 2014 New Year’s Resolutions!

1)  Grow closer to God!
This is a big one, so I put it first. I've grown closer to God within the past year, but I think you can never be too close to God. I receive devotions through my emails Monday through Friday. Sometimes two, but usually three. I listen to a chapter of the Bible every morning before work and I have 2 or 3 Christian Pinterest boards. I want to know more about Him and His Plan for my life.

2)  Spend more time with my love!
This one is pretty big too. I do spend lots of time with my wonderful hubby, but sometimes when we get off work our ways of relaxing are different. He plays Call of Duty and I read or play on my computer. I want to watch more movies and spend more time with him.

3)  Lose 20 pounds!
I did this last year, without much exercise. I plan on changing that. I want to exercise at least 3 times a week at 20-30 minutes each time. I actually want to lose more weight but I don't want to set my goals too high and not make it and get discouraged...again. It happens.

4)  Eat more fruits & veggies!
This one kind of goes with #3. I love many fruits, not so much on the veggies, but I want to eat more because I want to be healthier. Plus, they are filling and light on calories! :)

5)  Finish writing a book!
I think this one will be a hard one. I can never focus on writing one thing anymore ever since I finished This Reckless & Unreasonable Love. But I'm very determined. I love writing and I have so many unfinished stories that need to be told that it would be a crime not to finish them! ;)

6)  Grow a small garden!
This one will be hard too and I'm thinking I may have to skip it this year. I have very little, if any, extra room in my apartment and I don't even have a window sill to put plants on. I'm still going to continue researching it, however, in case the opportunity presents itself.

7)  Quit cussing!
My last one is one I've already been doing pretty well with. I still slip up but I don't cuss as often as I used to and I'm very happy about it.
Well, that's it. What do you think? Tell me about your New Year's Resolutions in the comments! I'd love to hear them!
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