Start Here.

“Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:4

Do a search on ‘beauty’ on Google, and you will come across many images of women with attractive hair and make-up. Beautiful? Yes.

Musings
Our appearance, after all, forms [a large portion of] our first impressions.
Without a word, your mind comes up with an idea of this person, based on their appearance alone.

Yet give it time — look a little closer… listen — and you will find that there is something more. Their speech, their actions and interactions with others, and the genuineness and consistency of each, will likely be the impression that stays with you.

Has that been your experience?
And if it was, why, then, is so much of our attention placed on the outward appearance rather than the inner person — the characters and qualities which make a person?

And the fear of how we are perceived as we interact with others…
This fear by which we act out of character in order to impress another…
Yet…Would it not be wiser to focus on developing these character/qualities in our lives– to live and act genuinely — rather than to temporarily adopt these characteristics as needed?

(The downside of donning on good character/qualities to impress another is that, eventually, the person whom you are will come through.
And, inevitably, if you were admired for the temporary good qualities that you did not possess, there will be disappointment.)

I wondered… Which, then, are the qualities I should hope to possess?

It brings me to this…


Fruit of the Spirit
A friend and I recently had this discussion: “How do our lives become testimonies for God? How do we know that He is at work within us?”

Then we came upon these verses in Galatians:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law…If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
– Galatians 5: 22-23, 25

When God is at work so that we grow, these fruits will become evident in our lives.

Then the ultimate question: Are these fruits (characters) evident in my life?

I’ve been thinking a bit of each of these fruits, and it is my hope to share more on each of them in the subsequent weeks (perhaps one per week?).

If you’re reading, I look forward to learning with you as we look to God’s Word (the Bible), as well as in the lives of others — past or present — who have exemplified these characters, and see what we can learn from them.

I’d love to hear about any insights you have on these fruits/characters as well!

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Remember what April brings.

“…I have erred both on the side of my hopes
and also of my fears,
…I am unfit to choose for myself,
for it is not in me to direct my steps.” (A.B.)

“…May I seek first thy kingdom and its righteousness.
May I value things in relation to eternity.
May my spiritual welfare be my chief solicitude.

May I be poor, afflicted, despised and have thy blessing,
rather than be successful in enterprise,
or have more than my heart can wish,
or be admired by my fellow-men,
if thereby these things make me forget thee.

May I regard the world as dreams, lies, vanities, vexation of spirit,
and desire to depart from it.
And may I seek my happiness in thy favour,
image, presence, service.”

— Desires, Valley of Vision

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21b

Purple

“The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken… “(Acts 16:14)

“Thy loving Spirit strives within me,
brings me Scripture warnings,
speaks in startling providences,
allures by secret whispers,
yet I choose devices and desires to my own hurt,
impiously resent, grieve,
and provoke him to abandon me.

All these sins I mourn, lament, and for them
cry pardon.
Work in me more profound and abiding repentance;
Give me the fullness of a godly grief
  that trembles and fears,
  yet ever trusts and loves,
which is ever powerful, and ever confident;
Grant that through the tears of repentance
I may see more clearly the brightness
and glories of the saving cross.”
(Yet I sin, Valley of Vision)

 

“While Jesus is representing me in heaven,
may I reflect him on earth,
While he pleads my cause, may I show forth
his praise.” (God Enjoyed., V.V.)

Veritas.

‘Veritas.’  Latin words on a crest. The motto of an institution of higher learning.
Words on a t-shirt. Memorabilia from many summers ago.
Summers before Dream met Ability (or perhaps she was Reality).

What then?

Truth.

“What is TRUTH?” A ruler asked, more than two thousand years ago.

What is truth?
His words, and hers.
The space between the lines.

The spectator. The critics. The lawyers. The jury. The judge.

The facts.
(But suppose we only have pieces of it, and can never come to know it fully, do we still have the facts?)

 

What then?
The ruler asked, and rejected the Savior.

But this is not that.
Yet in ignorance, we may err in our own way.

We are not judges. Yet we must make a choice, too.

What will it take to choose Love?
In love, find forgiveness.
In humility, find wisdom.
In unity, find the answer.

In all this, find God at work.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3)

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4)