Rebecca Duvall

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Gentleness

PeachThe Fruit of the Spirit this week is gentleness. I’ve chosen a peach to represent gentleness because they are easily bruised, so we need to handle them with care. Similar to the people in our lives. We must treat every relationship delicately, because people are easily bruised.

Having gentleness is behaving in a kind, calm manner, being polite and soothing regardless of the people or environment around you.

The dictionary says gentleness is a person with a mild temperament or someone who isn’t harsh or rough. It also says it’s someone who isn’t affected by criticism.

Gentleness is an attribute of God I struggle with daily. I find myself being more abrasive than mild when seeking things to fulfill my to-do list. I often show up to the church mid week with a list of things I need to take care of or check on and feel like I’m always on a time crunch. I know it should always be about the people I work with, not the job or task I do with them, but I struggle it. I think I more often than not, run in, blast a list of needs and run back out leaving everyone’s heads spinning. It takes every ounce of effort I have to interact in a gentle manner and not like a crazy person who’s had too much caffeine.

Let your gentleness be evident to all. Philippians 4:5

Gentleness is asking someone how their day is going before asking for help. It’s gently encouraging someone to make a change without judging their actions. It’s a willingness to accept a decision or suggestion gracefully from another. It’s being friendly and social in an uncomfortable or awkward situation. Do people find you easily to approachable?

Gentleness is not yelling when someone accidently breaks a tile on the kitchen counter. It’s not reacting harshly when a flying dart hits you in the face. It’s choosing not to tell someone how much they annoy you when they’ve decided to let you know how stupid they think you are. It’s politely explaining yourself even when it’s the 20th time. It’s completing a task for someone, without being asked, and expecting nothing in return. When was the last time you stepped in to help someone without being asked?

“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29

Jesus is our one true example of someone who is gentle. He offers us the gentleness we need to experience in our life as well as teach us, through the Holy Spirit, how to be the example of gentleness to others.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, You gently call us to You, through Your word and those You place in our lives. I pray we would be a reflection of Your gentleness, Amen.

Fruit of the Spirit

Over the past few months I’ve been meditating, studying and praying over the attributes of God because I desire to know my Creator, Abba Father, more intimately. While doing this, God has given me the desire to know the attributes He calls all who live by the Spirit to live by. The attributes He enables all who believe in His Son, Jesus, to have.

LiveTheFruit

Galatians chapter 5 tells us not to get caught up trying to justify our actions within the law. We are to faithfully follow Jesus, who is all about relationships. We are to act in a way that mimics how Jesus lived while here on earth. Our lives are to be pleasing, glorifying and honoring to God, our creator and sustainer.

We should not blame others for our actions because we are each given freewill and the ability to make choices. Do you choose to be persuaded by the lies of Satan, who wants to steal, kill and destroy everything good? Or do you choose to look past the frustrating, hard, painful, sorrowful circumstances you may experience occasionally throughout your life? Which do you think is pleasing to God- causing confusion or bringing encouragement to others? Which do you prefer, being confused or encouraged?

We are reminded that the freedom we are given through Christ Jesus was not so we could gratify our desires, but rather to humbly serve one another in love. The law we are to focus on and live by is to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are to treat everyone, regardless of how they treat us, the way we wish to be treated. Would you rather receive love, grace and mercy from those around you as you stumble through difficult times in your life? Or would you rather everyone around you have high expectations and demands regardless of the your personal struggles?

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21

Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:26

Galatians chapter 5, verses 22-23 is where we find the Fruit of the Spirit. Over the next 9 weeks I will take a look at each attribute to see what it should look like in our lives as we live them out in our every day lives. Today I’d like to look at verses 19-21 and verse 26 where we are given attributes not to live by, which are as follows:

  • Sexual Immorality~ Going beyond proper bounds with our bodies
  • Impurity~ Doing things to please man, not God
  • Debauchery~ Lack of restraint, easily allured from your duties
  • Idolatry~ Placing something above God
  • Witchcraft~ Seeking wisdom, guidance and understanding from something other than God
  • Hatred~ Intense dislike or hostility toward
  • Discord~ Lack of harmony with others, being harsh with others
  • Jealousy~ Desiring what other have
  • Fits of Rage~ Violent anger toward another
  • Selfish Ambition~ Doing things to help yourself not others
  • Dissensions~ Quarreling with others
  • Factions~ To purposely cause division
  • Envy~ Being upset others have things you desire
  • Drunkenness~ Overcome by power
  • Orgies~ Uncontrolled gratification of desires
  • Conceited~ To flatter and talk about yourself above others
  • Provoking~ To purposely annoy someone

I don’t know about you, but I struggle, on a regular basis, with many of these attributes. I often find myself feeling jealous when hearing of others doing things or going places I wish I could. Sometimes I purposely do something to annoy someone just because I can and I find their reaction funny. It’s cheap entertainment. The word debauchery sounds like such an evil thing (at least in my mind it does). But I must confess, I’m easily lured away from my duties. SQUIRREL! Which attribute listed do you struggle with most often?

The wonderful news is God does not expect us to change who we are or stop being who we think we need to be. God knows we can’t. As we seek to know God, study His Word, spend time with Him in prayer, He and He alone will change our heart. This will cause a ripple effect that will cause our thoughts, words and actions to change. The attributes of the old will fade away as the new attributes of the Holy Spirit, the Fruit of the Spirit, will pour out of us naturally.

My prayer for us today~ Father God, You know our heart and our deepest desires. I pray You would show us an attribute of ours that does not bring glory to You and help us replace it with an attribute that honors You, Amen.

Mark 12-30

 

Jesus

25 babyJesusI’m thankful for the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, the Messiah, my Lord and Savior. Have you chosen Jesus as your Lord and Savior? I’m thankful for the gift of eternal life in heaven I have been given because of Him. Have you received the gift of eternal life?

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” ~ Luke 2:8-14

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the greatest gift of all, Your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray all the world would know and understand the true meaning of this day, Christmas, Amen.

Restaurants

19 restaurantToday, Amy and I had the pleasure of visiting with Ashley and her boyfriend Scott during lunch. Going out to eat is an extra special treat because I don’t have to cook the meal (like usual) or clean up after it.

I’m embarrassed to say, I found myself getting irritated while at the restaurant. We had to wait to be seated, even though there were many tables and booths available. Then, they took too long to take our order after we asked for a few extra minutes to look over the menu. I even decided it was taking them way to long to fix the meal, as if I have any idea how long it would take to prepare any meal.

I’m ashamed to have let myself be so critical. I should have been focusing on the company I was with, not on judging those serving me. I have no right to judge them. Even though I was their customer, I’m not the center of their world. I don’t know the circumstances of the server’s life, or what may be going on in the kitchen or with other customers.

As I grew up, my parents owned a few restaurants. I never worked in any of them, but I do know it’s hard work and the pay isn’t all that great either. I’m thankful for those who give their all and do their best, even when dealing with annoying, over demanding people. I’m thankful for those who keep a smile on their face and let the ignorant comments slide off their back as they bend over backwards to satisfy the unsatisfiable customers. I’m thankful for having the choice where to go out to eat and the funds to do so. I’m thankful for those who prepare the food, serve the food and then clean up after it.

19 John6-35

I find myself continuously surrounded by food. We seem to have become a society that has the need to feel full. When we start to feel hungry, we over exaggerate by saying “I’m starving!” If we focus on the one thing that can truly fill us, Jesus, we won’t feel the need to constantly gorge on other things, for He is the bread of life.

19 revelation 3-20

Are you feeling empty?  Can you hear Jesus knocking?Have you opened the door to your heart and invited Jesus into your life? He desires to come into your life and fill you with His love, grace and mercy. Let Jesus, the only One who knows how to fill you, feed you.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the many ways Your Son, Jesus, fulfills our needs. I pray we seek to be filled eternally by Jesus, not temporarily by the world, Amen.

Home

15 pillowsTo me, a home is a place where you feel comfortable and safe. A place to gather with family and friends. A place to keep your stuff. A place where you can just be yourself.

I like to be cozy when I’m in my home. As soon as I get home from a day out and about, doing this and that, I like to get my PJ’s on, even if it’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon.

I’m thankful for the home God has allowed me to live in. I’m thankful for the many wonderful ways God provides for us to be here. I’m thankful for the family He allows me to live in the home with. I’m thankful for the floors to scrub, toilets to clean and windows to wash.

15 John 14-2-3

Have you ever tried to picture what the room Jesus is preparing for you in Heaven will look like? The room you will have in God’s house?! It blows my mind to think I will someday live eternally with God in His home! I think my room will be filled with kitties and squirrels with a rainbow across the ceiling and a heater (turned up high) hanging down in the center of the room. There will definitely be a lot of pillows and blankets to cuddle up with when I take my mid-afternoon naps too. What do you imagine your room will look like?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the eternal room in heaven being prepared for all believers. I pray all believers would recognize the urgency in spreading Your word those who do not know or believe, so they too may have a room with You one day, Amen.

 

God’s Mercy

5 praying hands crossHaving mercy on someone is not treating them as they deserve. God showed great mercy on His people, you and me, by providing a way for us to be forgiven for our sinful ways. Because God is holy, He can’t ignore or tolerate sin, there must be a consequence or sacrifice made. This consequence is death, which keeps us from having a relationship with Him.

He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. ~ Titus 3:5

God deeply desires to be close to us. This is why He sent His Son, Jesus, who was sinless, to pay for our sins. God’s mercy for us is allowing us to live eternally with Him, even though we don’t deserve it. I’m thankful for the mercy I received, and continue to receive daily, from God.

One of the definitions of mercy in the dictionary is ‘an act of kindness, compassion, or favor’.

5 luke6-36

God calls all who choose to receive His mercy to pass this mercy on to others. We are to treat others, even when they’re having a bad day, with kindness, compassion and love. Even when they have no excuse for being rude, hateful or disrespectful, we are to be forgiving and merciful. We are to look past the actions and see the person in front of us. Which is what God did for us. He looked past the sin and provided a way for the people to live!

The amazing thing is, God doesn’t expect us to do this on our own. He wants us to call out to Him and ask for His help. What sin do you need God’s help to look past, so you can love on the person behind it?

I’m thankful God equips us with His love, compassion and mercy to pour out onto others.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the mercy you offer us, which brings us eternal life with you. I pray we boldly & courageously show mercy to those around us, Amen

 

God’s Love

heart crossI’m thankful for the great and mighty love God has for me.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16

Isn’t that amazing! God loves us so much, regardless of how messed up we are, that He offered us His Son, Jesus, so we would have the choice to be in a close relationship with Him. There is truly no greater love than the love God the Father has for His people, us.

I find it fascinating that when God created us, He knew we would turn from Him and sin. He not only created everything on heaven and earth, He also created a plan to redeem us. A plan that would allow Him to look past our sinful ways and pour out His blessings upon us. He has continually pointed His people to this merciful and gracious plan since the beginning of time.

Romans 8 38-39

Romans 8:38-39

God’s love for His people, us, is so intense, that nothing can ever come between His love and us. For those who choose not to believe in Him, He still loves them and continues to reach out to them through the people and circumstances surrounding them. For those who have wondered away from Him and been captivated by the world around them, His love will never fade. He continues to patiently wait for you, while offering guidance for a safe return to Him. Have you wandered from God? How is He calling you back to Him?

Those who earnestly seek after God will continue to see Him through answered prayer, the words or actions of others, His Word and His stunning creation. How has God revealed Himself to you recently?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for your plan to save us through your Son, Jesus, so we may draw close to you. I pray we would feel the love you have for us in our heart, mind and soul, Amen

 

Praying Scripture

light buldYou know that moment when something clicks? That light bulb moment when something sinks down into your heart that’s been bouncing around in your brain, for what feels like forever?

While I was working on my BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) lesson this week, reading Ephesians 4:25-32, I thought “I want/need to stop doing these things and start responding in the way Paul is calling the church to respond. But how will I do this?” That’s when it clicked….I don’t have to do it. I can’t do it, not alone anyway. I am to call upon the power of Jesus by praying over the scripture. Turn the scripture into a prayer and let God change my heart. I’ve heard the term ‘pray the scriptures’, but didn’t understand what the real purpose of it was. Now I get it!

~Seek the strength of God for ALL He requires of you~

Have you, or anyone you know, ever wished there was a manual for life; a book that would tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, or how to get things done. Something that would tell you the secret to being more productive or how to deal with the annoying people in your life? Well guess what?! There is such a book! It’s called the Bible. It’s the word of God, given to you and me as a gift.

Bible

Are you a believer? Do you believe God sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of the world? Do you believe Jesus was crucified (died on the cross), and then rose again and later ascended into heaven, to sit at the right hand of God the Father? If you do believe, you also have the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help you interpret the Bible, and what God wants to tell you through it, as you read it. If you don’t believe, I would love to commuicate with you about what’s holding you back. Please send me a message through the ‘contact’ page of my website (www.inhisway.net) so we can chat.

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

Do no let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:25-32

plug power of prayer

Father God, You call us to be like you, righteous and holy. I pray to carefully select my words, so they would be filled with Your truth. I pray to let go of any anger that begins to stir within me. I pray the devil would not be allowed to dance around my head; but cast out of it, so my mind may be filled only with thoughts that are pleasing to You. I pray I would not steal precious moments in the day that You have given me, to fill them with empty things that distract me from You. Lord, help me discern Your will for me. I call upon your wisdom and strength to accomplish the tasks You call me to.

I pray You would guard my mouth; let only words that build up or encourage escape my lips; may my words be filled with Your wisdom, guidance & discernment to benefit others. May I never forget the gift of the Holy Spirit that You gave to me, that dwells within me, the moment I chose Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. May I always call upon the power of the Holy Spirit so it may transform my heart, mind & soul. Lord, I pray the bitterness, anger and rage that stirs within me be cast out and replaced with a kind, loving, forgiving and compassionate heart. Thank you Lord for the many opportunities You have given me to serve You. To You be all the honor and glory, Amen.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit and Your words, the Bible. I pray we would have a deep desire to read Your word and draw closer to You, Amen

Power

PowerHave you ever had a song stuck in your head that you could not shake? Well, for the past 2-3 weeks I have had ‘There is Power’, by Lincoln Brewster, stuck in my head. Usually, I wouldn’t think much about it, especially since this is an amazing song. It started getting a little weird, when almost every time I got in the car or turned on the radio, that song would be on. I don’t mean somewhere in the middle of the song, no. I mean as soon as I would turn the car or radio on it would be right at ‘There is power in the name of Jesus”. The first few times I thought “oh, that’s that song I have stuck in my head, funny.” Then after it happened about the 4th time I thought, “oh, I better pay attention and figure out what God’s trying to say to me.”

I think God wants to make sure I truly understand the power available to me through His Son, Jesus. I think God is telling me He is waiting patiently for me to take action and call upon this power. I think God would like me to take action NOW, because there are things He desires to put into action and His timing for these things is NOW.

As a believer in Jesus, someone who accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, I have the power of the Holy Spirit, which dwells within me. The Holy Spirit intercedes in prayer for me when I can’t express what’s in my heart. The Holy Spirit can also encourage or convict me when necessary. But as the song says, ‘there is power in the name of Jesus’ too.

The Holy Spirit can’t intercede for us in prayer if we don’t pray. The power of Jesus is available to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but it’s up to each of us to call upon the power. God wants us to utilize the power, that’s why He makes it available. This power is what makes the impossible become possible. Most believers call upon the power of Jesus when praying, but their prayer time is scarce.

…those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:14-17

In Romans 8 we are told that those who are led by the Spirit are children of God. As children of God we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, Jesus. When we pick up our cross daily, seek God in everything, regardless of our circumstances, we will share in the glory of God. How exciting is that?!

So how can we seek God daily? One way is by reading the Bible, the Word of God. We are just like the people in the Bible, always looking to ourselves or other things and not God. So we can learn from their mistakes. We can learn from Jesus and how He taught his disciples and the people. I encourage you to pick up the Bible, ask God to speak to you through it, open it up and read a chapter. Then sit in silence and listen for God. I know He will reveal himself to you because God loves you and has so much to say to you.

Another way we can seek God is through prayer. When I say prayer, I don’t mean shooting up wishes or demands to God whenever we find ourselves in a tight spot. I mean participating in a relationship with God. The definition of prayer is a spiritual fellowship with God; sharing of thoughts or emotions; intimate communication. In order to experience these things with God you must pray regularly and passionately. Tell God your inner most thoughts, hopes, fears, dreams or whatever comes to mind. Yes, God already knows all of this, but He is waiting for you to invite Him into them. God will not push himself on you. He patiently waits to be invited in so He can help you and pour out His blessings upon you.

Another way we can seek God is through worship. When I say worship, I don’t mean singing necessarily. Yes, we do worship God through singing, but that’s not the only way to worship. Praising and thanking God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is a way to worship. Giving God the glory for our accomplishments and all we have is a way to praise and thank Him.

A few weeks ago I saw the movie ‘War Room’ with my husband. I enjoyed it so much I went back a few days later with friends to see it again. If you haven’t seen it yet, I strongly recommend it. It lit a fire in me! I haven’t started a prayer room, but I have started a prayer journal. I have pages for every part of my life and every one in my life. I spend more time lifting up all the areas in my life to God. I don’t just babble a list of wants and demands. I thank God for what I have and ask for Him to use me for His glory. I pause often while praying so the Holy Spirit can intercede and prompt me. Before moving onto a different area in my life or person, I thank God for His good and perfect plan and His answers to my prayer. I pray with an expectant heart, believing God will answer in a mighty, amazing and bold way.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the power offered to all believers across the world. I pray we would take the time to fellowship with you daily to deepen our relationship with You, Amen.

One True Friend

18 crossProverbs 18

An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels. Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. When wickedness comes, so does contempt, and with shame comes reproach. The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream. It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice. The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating. The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts. One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale. Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. To answer before listening—that is folly and shame. The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out. A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great. In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines. Casting the lot settles disputes and keeps strong opponents apart. A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city; disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel. From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord. The poor plead for mercy, but the rich answer harshly. One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Vs 1-24

monkeys hugging

The unfriendly cannot see past their own selfish desires; only things concerning their own well-being sounds wise to them. When you lack judgment, you have no desire to comprehend the opinion of others. You only wish to force your thoughts and ideas onto others.

The book of Proverbs talks a lot about the fool. So I decided to look up the word fool in the dictionary to get a better sense of what is meant when calling someone a fool. The definition for fool is ‘stupid or ridiculous person’. I think I have the right idea what a fool is. Next, I decided to look up some synonyms for fool so I would have other word choices. This made my day! Here are some of the words I came across: blockhead, buffoon, dimwit, fathead, halfwit, ignoramus and my all time favorite, nincompoop. Now that’s a funny word. Too bad it’s not a word to bring a cheerful heart. I almost like it as much as my all time favorite word discombobulated.

Moving on……Giving of your time, offering your talents or giving monetarily does more that help the one receiving. The giver is given the gift of a cheerful heart. The act of giving is pleasing to God. Obediently giving, as called by God, is rewarded with honor and respect.

Even if we know many powerful, well-known, highly respected people throughout our life, we can leave this world not knowing a soul. There’s only one person we need to meet and have a relationship with to have a full life filled with amazing things. It’s Jesus Christ. The Son of God. My Lord and Savior. Have you met Him yet? If you haven’t, I’d love to introduce you to Him.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for loving us so much, you sent your one and only Son, Jesus, to die for us. I pray we would give you the praise, honor and glory you rightfully deserve for giving this amazing, loving gift, Amen

john 3 16

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