Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Fruit of The Spirit

When I was 8, my parents decided to send me to camp. I cried on the plane (yes, they put me on a plane by myself... this was the 80s), and was intent on being mad at them for my whole life for "sending me away". I was supposed to call my mom as soon as I got to the camp. I was intent on telling her that under no circumstance would I stay, that I would have to come home right that instant! She would have to come pick me up... That was way I was going to say... However...

I never called. I got to camp and immediately began having the time of my life! I forgot to call home and mom had to call me at some point to ensure I made it.

I went back as either a camper or staffer (missing only one or two years) until I was 20! Some of my best memories are from the camp. It's where I started to sing. I sang Love In Any Language by Sandy Patti my first summer there at one of our Singspiration nights. (This is right before we all walk to the Nibble Nook for ice cream!)...

But I digress... The camp is God centered and I love that. There are 5 age groups and therefore "villages" as we call them. Each village has a verse and a Fruit of the Spirit that goes along with it. Since I'm studying the fruit of the spirit I thought it would be good to remember the verses that went along with each village

The youngest group--the Chippewas--represent Joy. Their verse is Luke 2:52 "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with all men"

The second age group--The Chickasaws--they represent Goodness and their verse is: Psalm 27:14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

The middle group--The Cheyennes--they represent Kindness and their verse is: Proverbs 21:21 He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.

The 4th group--The MIGHTY Choctaws--represent gentleness and their verse is: Habakkuk 3:19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.

The oldest group of girls--The Cherokees--represent self control and their verse is: John 8:32 And you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free!

Each girl also gets what we call an honor band for each 'village' that she has been a part of. The honor bands are different colors, and if you have a really crafty mom she can sew them together, or you can use tape :-) The colors are (in order) Green, Red, Yellow, Brown, Blue. It looks like a pretty rainbow if you have obtained them all.. if I ever find a scanner, I'll put a picture in here of mine.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Break Free from Your Steel Bars

I have come to love Beth Moore. Her Bible study, Breaking Free, affected me greatly. I was listening to a song this week that I thought really captured that study.

If you aren't familiar with the study, the Bible verse that is the foundation of the study is

Isaiah 61:1-3
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

The song that brought this study to mind for me this week was Steel Bars by Jill Phillips. Jill Phillips is an artist that could get right to my heart with every word she sings! I mean, really this girl has a gift. Check out her website. You can watch her sing Steel Bars here on YouTube.

Here is the first verse and the chorus....

So this is how it feels at the rock bottom of despair
When the house I built comes crashing down
And this is how it feels when I know the man that I say I am
Is not the man that I am when no one's around
This is how it feels to come alive again
And start fighting back to gain control
And this is how it feels to let freedom in
And break these chains that enslave my soul

I refuse to be locked up in here like a prison cell
Where all I ever get is a meal and four walls
I used to be just fine in here but not anymore
Gonna break through these steel bars

I challenge you (and I challenge myself) to truly allow God to break you out of whatever steel bars are enslaving your soul. Let HIM take control over you. You'll be so free it will amaze you!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Guard My Thoughts

I am currently in a neighborhood Bible Study, and we are working our way through Beth Moore's Living Beyond Yourself (Fruit of the Spirit) Bible Study. I need this study right now. It is really teaching me so much, and I'm so glad that God allowed me the opportunity to be a part of it.

The basis of the entire study is the verses found in Galatians.

Galations 5:22-23 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.

As we worked our way through the first few portions of the fruit of the Spirit, I was constantly reminded that my thoughts needed to be in the right place. There is a song called Whatever by Dave Hunt. It is from his CD Until That Day.

The song is basically Phillipians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things" in musical form.

An excerpt from the song says "Whatever draws me to your presence, what brings glory to you, if it deepens my affection for the prince of peace then there is nothing I would rather do. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right and pure. If it is lovely, if it is admirable, or excellent or praiseworthy, I'll think on these".

If you are able to check the song out, I strongly encourage you to do so. And even if you aren't able to check out the song, I challenge you to truly monitor your thoughts and what affects your thoughts.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Always Thinking in Song

Those of you who know me know that I love to sing. I also have a strange ability to remember the lyrics to songs even after hearing it just one time.(This can be both good and bad... think "This the song that never ends"... nevermind, don't think of that, it will drive you insane!)

At any rate, a few months ago, a Bible Study started in our neighborhood. We completed one study in the fall and are in the midst of another study right now. It's been a blessing to be a part of these! One thing I found is that as I was reading the study for that day or discussing them in our weekly group meetings, I would often be reminded of a song that I thought went along with the study - or just with my thoughts. At the risk of sounding like I only speak in songs, I don't always tell everyone the songs that I'm thinking about, but I think that it can't hurt to put them down... for me, my soul cries out in song and songs carry great meaning for me...