Fruit #2

JOY

Definition: the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by someone or something exceptionally good or satisfying

Seeing that, as a believer, I should ALWAYS be joyful, because I ALWAYS have Jesus, who is exceptionally good!
But…am I?
Sadly, no.
I need to be joyful no matter my circumstances, no matter the pain…because I have Jesus Christ and He can help me through any situation.
Focusing on the wonderful things is terribly hard for some people, and yes we need to address those roadblocks in relationships, but when its an issue of ourselves why do we grouch and complain?
There is no need to complain about anything.
No matter how bad you think it is, there is something far worse that could be happening. Let’s listen to Paul for a moment:

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

This dude was in PRISON! Can you imagine how horrid that would be? Here he was, sent by God, and he ended up in prison…yet look at his response; his perspective changed, but it was more optimistic and he gained more knowledge; he grew in Christ.

Sometimes, our hard circumstances push us away from God, more so than bring us closer to Him.
If we only found JOY in the Lord and danced in His arms no matter if we are at the brink of death or on our way to a cruise, well or sick, bones or fat.

That ‘secret’ that Paul was talking about, it’s the last sentence; “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength”
If we choose to look to the Son rather than the dark ground our attitude changes.

Next time you are in a horrible situation, think of what God has done for you in the past, what He has pulled you through, your blessings and REMEMBER: God is with you, He’s not just watching you struggle without feeling hurt,  He tests our love for Him.
Continuously seeking His face and finding joy no matter the wait, that’s the real test.


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Fruit #1

LOVE

The word “LOVE” gets abused today, especially in relationships. Most couples look for a feeling and focus only on that rather than the person, hence the reason why it is so common for people to have short dating relationships. Love takes work and is not a reaction of emotions; it is a choice and a pursuit.

Many people wonder, especially after awful break-ups and torn families and such,
“What is true love?”


Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

This, my blog-followers, is love.
If at any time we fail at showing these, we are not loving.
When one acts out in a fit of rage against another, he/she is not showing love: no kindness
When one does not respect the waiting process, he/she is not showing love: no patience

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.

True, undying, passionate, pure, love is powerful and the glue in a relationship (GOD IS LOVE-1 John 4:8).
When relationships (whether with family, friends, or your special someone) start going down hill there is a lack of love.
All the attributes of love (found in first quote), if applied daily, will create that romance longed for. The hard test is choosing to love and working for it.
Love comes at a price: sacrifice.

In The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) it was his choice to be sacrificial and love the stranger.

This is how God showed His love among us; He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

This is the ultimate sacrifice; the best example of love.
God did not have to save us from eternal separation from Him, but He did. Jesus DIED for EVERYONE even after ALL the things we have done wrong.

Continually loving someone over the test of time, no matter what they have done takes an unending amount of effort; one cannot just stop pursuing after marriage.
All the work done in the dating process  must continue into marriage and on for the rest of their lives together. It is easily turned into a schedule; she has her work, he has his, the eat dinner and watch t.v. together, sleep and wake up..repeat.
Where is the romance that once was?
What happened to the burning, passionate flame?

Time is wearing. Without the mind-set of continual pursuit, a marriage, or any relationship for that matter, can become mundane and regular. Take for instance what happened in the Bible here:

What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears.

These people had a fading love. Many parents know the feeling of their creation-their child turning their backs to them. God created us and each time we lack love it hurts Him, especially when its specifically against HIM. God does not just want us to love Him in the sunshine, but in the storm; love that lasts and pushes through the ruff spots means more and is stronger than if it had none at all.

What can your love for God and all those around you be compared to? Something permanent like ink stains? Semi-permanent like a marker? Something that quickly fades like a light pencil mark?

[question]
Should I continue with the Fruit of the Spirit or blog more about love?
{{check out Sarah’s previous blog, written in March about LOVE LANGUAGES <—click here}}



Fruit

“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.”

I’m gonna attempt to do some blog posts concerning each of these individually after Thanksgiving.

 

SO STAY TUNED!!!

In the meantime, I would enjoy your opinions on what ‘love’ is and how to put it in to practice within relationships; family, friends, and dating.

Captain

Within each of us is the genetics of our family before us. I have the same face structure as my mom, her energy, craftiness, creativity, and outgoing, friendly character. I have the height of my dad, his love for running, puzzles and scrabble, his goofy character and silly faces. I believe I get my love for the water from my grandpa Captain, my mom’s dad. He passed away when I was three years old. His name is really Donald, but we always called him grandpa Captain because he had a boat named the Donalee, which he owned with two others. It is his birthday tomorrow, he would have been seventy-nine.

It hurts to know that I hardly know anything about him. I ask questions to almost every person I know, to get to know them better…he is one that I want to get to know the most, and can’t.

I wonder what he would have said about my Panama trip.
I wonder what he would have thought about me having a boyfriend.
I wonder what advice he would have for me, for my future.

I imagine I would have been really close to him, because my mom said that I loved to always be with him when I was little.

I am sure he was a very special man, whom loved Christ with all his heart. One day I’ll meet him, in Heaven.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa Captain. I love you very much.


Final Letter

Well, it has been quite a while since my last post.
Being home is amazing.
I’m going to copy my letter that I’m sending out to those who supported me, for my post today.
~~~

Teaching its children, serving its Creator, walking on its roads, and seeing God’s hand within it’s people-this had been my Panamanian life for eighty-six days, the most impacting series of time I had ever experienced.  This trip was extremely hard, but outstandingly amazing and has changed my life forever.

I served in the church, Inglesia Biblica Amistad, until its remodeling completion on September 26th. Hours upon hours, dirt upon dust, sweat upon sweat, pushed me to serve God through more physical labor than I’ve ever experienced. Faithfully doing anything asked and striving to do better than expected kept me working diligently as well as being an example for those observing.  For my first three weeks, I worked at the church every day alongside the men and gained much experience in the world of construction, using nail guns, building walls, paint-chipping, sealing walls, hanging a ceiling, and much more. Although, I must say, my character got more of a remodel than my muscle. I adopted self-sacrifice, discipline, service, perseverance, patience, and most of all, trusting my Saviour.

After those three weeks, I added working in the school to my schedule. I began assisting second grade alongside Susanna, who became my best friend and sister while down there. I tutored some of the kids and they improved their test scores by thirty percent. After the church completion and the end of September came around, Susanna and I moved to teaching five-year old kindergarten kids. There was already an assistant in there, so I asked the teacher’s director if I could do anything to help out in other areas in the school. This was when I began teaching four-year olds phonics twice a day, which brought me new friends and little loves. For ten days I taught seventh, eighth, and ninth grade literature, grammar, and spelling. Throughout that time I received a different perspective on school, because teaching a class room of thirty is another realm than being taught. I began realizing how millions of eyes watch me every day, who I am an example to.

I had the amazing opportunity to go to Piriati to visit the Embera tribe for three and a half days with Vivian, a woman who stayed at the same house I was in. She knew a little English, but understood more than she talked it. When we left, I had the urge to run back to the house and hide; I did not want to leave behind my English for over three days. My communication would be horrible. A million reasons ran through my mind on why I SHOULD NOT GO, but then a Bible verse I read that morning came to my head: “The Lord is with me, whom shall I fear? What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6). God was with me! I could do this and it would be purely God who would get me through this weekend; it would glorify Him if I just obeyed. So I kept walking. After our four-hour bus ride, we arrived at the road we walked to get to the tribe. Many missionaries had come to this tribe, so they were fluent in Spanish as well as Embera. They sang songs and used Bibles in both languages, which was really neat for me to personally see a tribal language translated. I needed to use Spanish and had not realized how much I knew until I arrived at Piriati. My Spanish was in English sentence structure, but I communicated well enough for them to understand me. Most of my Spanish I learned from observing and reading the dictionary in my spare time. The tribal people were extremely amazed and impressed, but again, it was only by God that I remembered. Going to the tribe was one of my biggest highlights of Panama, because they were an impact on my life and changed my perspective. We have so much stuff. America is spoiled; I am spoiled. These people lived from meal to meal and had very little, but found happiness in Christ.

God opened up my eyes to a new perspective on missions; it does not matter if I cannot speak their language fluently, but instead it matters if my heart is seeking God’s will and I am serving Him with all my strength. God used my quiet acts of daily work to be used for His glory and affect those around me. When I stepped out of my comfort zone and pushed forward as an act of obedience to my Saviour, it shined His light and glorified Him. I had many trials through this experience, but He got me through all of them.

I want to thank you for your support, because you have changed my life as well. I am grateful for the way that you supported me, your obedience and services to God are greatly appreciated and I can never thank you enough. I felt your prayers and can look back and see how they affected my circumstances. God used you to reach those whom I did, because you were with me in Panama through your support. Prayer’s power never ceases to amaze me. I thank you and pray these verses over you.

2 Thessalonians 2:16,17

“May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragment and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

The Last Embraces

Waiting in an airport was never so thought provoking.

I said goodbye to my Panamanian family this morning and haven’t stopped thinking about Panama since.

Because on Sunday morning I woke up at 7:30 and couldn’t fall back asleep I have been up since that morning.
Sunday night (last night) I didn’t sleep; I pulled an all nighter.
And that’s why the Panamanian sitting next to me in the airplane going to Atlanta stated, “Mucho dormir, you like sleep”

I told him I baked cookies and hung out with friends (I didn’t know how to say I packed my suitcase in Spanish, so I couldn’t add that to the list).
He found it odd.

He told his wife and two others that were traveling along with him.
They asked me why I was in Panama, I said “Missionary”
They were very interested and not repelled at all-I was thankful.
I had fun having a Spanglish conversation with them, they complimented me on my three months of Spanish and how for that amount of time I knew a lot.

Ever since I first arrived in this airport I haven’t stopped thinking about all the little things that I grew to love in Panama.

As well, I can’t begin to capture the reality that three months has gone by. It seems to me as though my year isn’t twelve months, but fifteen. These three months are added to my normal year rather than a part of it. I have never suffered from so much confusion because of time, as I have this year. Experiencing three months in a country who’s climate is similar to spring//summer combined ,makes it seem like my summer was just extended and now it’s time for the gradual welcome to fall…but no.
I began walking the airport to my concourse and was struck with my observation that I was the only one wearing flip-flops. Everybody else had tennis-shoes or boots on…people in long sleeves and in winter coats…scarves!!! I haven’t seen a scarf worn with a jacket in a long time. MY WORD IT’S NOVEMBER!!!
AHHHHHHHH

I love November, but goodness, it seems like it’s come to early.
~~~

I am extremely tired, as I’m sure you can tell by my ‘bouncing-off-the-wall’ blog post.
~~~

I sigh in awe that my three months have ended, but I’m excited for home and how God can use me again.
My heart has changed in my love for Christ and I don’t want to lose that feeling.

 

Second grade and me, my last day of school

 

 

I am blessed with the friends and family I have gained throughout my trip.
I have the best Spanglish speaking friends in the whole world.
I have had the best times with Sanna, Nair, Oscar, Josh, and Joel hanging out and being awesome. I have bonded with them deeply and it was tuff to hug them one last time…
Randy, Donna, Jordan, Michelle, Jesse, and Sanna all came to the airport with me at 4:30a.m. I am blessed by them and will never be able to fully express how much they have impacted my life.
No words are good enough.
I appreciate them and all they have done for me, I am forever grateful and connected to them through Christ.

With each goodbye embrace, a piece of my heart was given.

Many, many, many thanks to all those who prayed for me…you have changed my life as well.