Tag Archives: striving for a virtuous life

Striving for a Virtuous Life

4 Dec

With this series coming to a close this month, it’s made me look back on all the topics we’ve covered and contemplate how I have grown in each of them. I have not done near as well as I had intended but any growth is GOOD forward movement that I will be proud of. Here is a quick run-down of how I feel I did on each one of them:

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(if you want to read the original posts, each title links up to them!)

Authenticity – to a degree, I have tried to be more ME. To not pull up the mask to hide the pain – physical or emotional. This might seem silly, but even going somewhere/letting others come over without me having makeup on (or even attempting something other than re-ponytailing (is that a word?) my crazy hair is a part of being ME more.

Hospitality – I love it when people come over. but i will admit to getting super nervous when it comes to the actual hosting duties. My OH enjoys hosting so I let him take over typically. But i’ve been trying to get over the jitters!

Hope – not so well –I have been very up and down this year. My down times have gone hand in hand with the severity of my physical pain. This year plus has been the most difficult in the way of emotions out of the past decade of chronic pain.

Faithfulness– Uhhhmm, I suppose the answer is the same as above.The bedrock of my faith is still strong and secure, but there have been more moments of questioning details of faith as I’m slowly transitioning to the Messianic Jewish life.

Wholesome Speech – I feel like I’ve grown in this when speaking to others, but have for sure gone backwards when talking to myself.

Listening– Yes and no….. I am trying to listen more to what isn’t said sometimes than I used to. As well as asking more questions to find out where people really are.

Expectations – sitting here thinking about it, I suppose my struggles in hope and faithfulness spread a bit to here as well. My longing to be healed by now has periodically made it difficult to see the blessings He has given to me.

Protection – I needed this reminder this morning! He is my Protector!

Modesty – this has been something I haven’t struggled with too much in years. the struggle tends to be more of ‘this dress/top is so cute but i’m tired of having to layer everything in my closet!’ than anything else.

Thank you for coming along with me on this series, I hope that you have learned and grown from it. I know that I want to do another series next year but I don’t have any idea what it will cover yet! Or even whether it’ll be faith-based. If you have any ideas, do share!

Blessings,

Laura

Striving for a Virtuous Life – Modesty

10 Nov

Hello again friends! This is a topic I knew I was going to cover, but waited and waited until I had a better idea of how I wanted to do it. The goal here is to encourage everyone, men and women, in behaving and dressing in a way that pleases our Lord. For modesty isn’t just about how you dress – it is also inside of you. What comes from the heart is what you drape yourself in.

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To make this even more exciting is the fact that we are linking up with Hannah of Love, Hannah B for this topic! Make sure you hop over and check out her post, and really just her whole blog, I adore it!

If you would like, feel free to check out the other studies – Virtue , Hope , faithfulness, hospitality, authenticity and wholesome speechexpectationslistening and protection. There is no specific order for this study! A few ‘boring’ things before we get started – I will get all my meanings from dictionary.reference.com unless otherwise stated. For my verses, I will be using my Complete Jewish Bible, unless otherwise stated.

Modesty

  •  the quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc
  •   regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc.
  •   simplicity; moderation.

Word origin and History – 1530s, “freedom from exaggeration, self-control,” from Middle French modestie or directly from Latinmodestia “moderation, sense of honor,correctness of conduct,” frommodestus “moderate, keeping measure,sober, gentle, temperate,” frommodus “measure, manner” (seemode(n.1)). Meaning “quality of having a moderate opinion of oneself” is from 1550s; that of “womanly propriety” is from 1560s.

I really liked the different meanings above that I had to share this!

1 Peter 3:3-4 – Your beauty should not consist in externals such as fancy hairstyles, gold jewelry or what you wear;  rather, let it be the inner character of your heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit. In God’s sight this is of great value.”

1 Timothy 2:9-10 – Likewise, the women, when they pray, should be dressed modestly and sensibly in respectable attire, not with elaborate hairstyles and gold jewelry, or pearls, or expensive clothes.  Rather, they should adorn themselves with what is appropriate for women who claim to be worshipping God, namely, good deeds.”
Now, I know we ALL have heard these verses through the years – sadly, often they are incorrectly taught! These verses are pointing out what, exactly, we as women should be focusing our attention on – good deeds. A gentle and quiet spirit. Being a woman of prayer. Finding clothes that are tasteful, attractive and sensible is important for it affects our self-confidence and how others see us – no i’m not saying that our main concern is how others see us but rather so that our faith, our light, can shine more the brighter. I feel like I’m muddling this bit up, do you understand what i’m saying? Our inward state is the most important. How we adorn ourselves on the outward is, I believe, a reflection of who we are on the inside.

 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 –Or don’t you know that your body is a temple for the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) who lives inside you, whom you received from God? The fact is, you don’t belong to yourselves;  for you were bought at a price. So use your bodies to glorify God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31 – “Well, whatever you do, whether it’s eating or drinking or anything else, do it all so as to bring glory to God.”

Romans 12:1 – “ I exhort you, therefore, brothers, in view of God’s mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please him; it is the logical “Temple worship” for you.”

We are living sacrifices with the task of glorifying God, no matter what we are doing.

1 Timothy 4:12 – “Don’t let anyone look down on you because of your youth; on the contrary, set the believers an example in your speech, behavior, love, trust and purity.”

Just because some of us are younger, doesn’t mean that we cannot be examples for others. Our lives, whether we are in our teens to nineties, can be set-apart examples of living for God. Being set apart doesn’t mean completely removing ourselves so that we can no longer be witnesses. We are to be in the world, but not of it, right? This means constant vigilance over what we surround ourselves with – but still be relevant in our times. And no holding your nose so high in the air you can’t look anyone in the eye. That shows a lack of modesty, humility and an influx of the wrong kind of pride. . All in all, remember these words to strive to set examples for proper living – while still maintaining modesty.

A few printables for you!

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Proverbs 31:30 – “Charm can lie, beauty can vanish, but a woman who fears ADONAI should be praised.”

Our last post of this series is next month! Don’t miss it!

Have you struggled with being modest? Is it something you’re currently dealing with? Let’s talk!

I hope you have enjoyed this study with me and as I said above, do check out the other studies in this series – Virtue , Hope , faithfulness, hospitality, authenticity and wholesome speechexpectations, listening and protection.

Striving for a Virtuous Life – Protection

8 Oct

Welcome readers!

Several weeks ago I asked a friend what one word she would use to describe the guy in her life. After a fun discussion, I started thinking of my own answer to that. How would I describe my OH? I really think this question could be answered, quite honestly, several different ways. Depending on the season of life, or perhaps even the type of day we’ve had. But, in this season of our lives, my one word would be this: Protector. He shields me as much as he can from people’s harsh words or actions. Takes care of me when my body is battering me black and blue. Encourages me emotionally when I am hurt/frustrated/can’t take the pain anymore, etc. Thinking of how he has taken on this role for me got me to thinking of how my Heavenly Father does the same thing, on a higher scale of course! He knows me better than my OH ever will, better than I ever will as well. He knows what I need to be protected from and what I need to go through in order to grow.

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What better protectors can a girl have? One in heaven and one here on earth.

If you would like, feel free to check out the other studies – Virtue , Hope , faithfulness, hospitality, authenticity and wholesome speechexpectations and listening. There is no specific order for this study! A few ‘boring’ things before we get started – I will get all my meanings from dictionary.reference.com unless otherwise stated. For my verses, I will be using my Complete Jewish Bible, unless otherwise stated.

Protect :

  • to defend or guard from attack, invasion, loss, annoyance, insult, etc…
  • cover or shield from injury or danger
  • to provide

synonyms: screen, shelter, defend. (support, maintain)

The 1st verse shows what love is:

1 Cor. 13:4-7,13 ” Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not gloat over other people’s sins but takes its delight in the truth.  Love always bears up, always trusts, always hopes, always endures.But for now, three things last trust, hope, love; and the greatest of these is love.”

The rest of the verses are showing how God protects us : what words stand out to you of how He protects us in each verse?

Rom. 8:28 -“Furthermore, we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called in accordance with his purpose”

~everything works for His good. Even if we can’t see it!

Ps. 138:7 -“You keep me alive when surrounded by danger; you put out your hand when my enemies rage; with your right hand you save me.”

~keep alive, save, fulfill promises, right hand* , preserve, delivers

Ps. 91:1-4 -“You who live in the shelter of ‘Elyon, who spend your nights in the shadow of Shaddai,  who say to ADONAI, “My refuge! My fortress! My God, in whom I trust!”  he will rescue you from the trap of the hunter and from the plague of calamities;  he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his truth is a shield and protection.”

~rescue, refuge, shield and protection, fortress

Ps. 121 -“If I raise my eyes to the hills, from where will my help come?  My help comes from ADONAI, the maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot slip -your guardian is not asleep.  No, the guardian of Isra’el never slumbers or sleeps. ADONAI is your guardian; at your right hand ADONAI provides you with shade  the sun can’t strike you during the day or even the moon at night.  ADONAI will guard you against all harm; he will guard your life.  ADONAI will guard your coming and going from now on and forever.”

~help, guardian, provider, shade/shadow, right hand* , preserve

2 Cor 4:8-9 -“We have all kinds of troubles, but we are not crushed; we are perplexed, yet not in despair;  persecuted, yet not abandoned; knocked down, yet not destroyed.”

~protection through everything,

Here is a quote from T.D. Jakes  :”That thing that is not coming to you may seem good. But either the timing is wrong, or from His position He can see that the future of it is bleak. I have always believed that people who thank God only for delivering them from what happened are just scraping the surface of praise. The real praise comes when you start thanking Him for what could have happened but didn’t because of His swift grace!”

Obviously, knowing God’s protection of us can help us  through our hard times – that we are not alone and that eventually, the trial will end. And even when we are in the trial, we are to praise Him. But, as we are all too human, even having this knowledge does not mean that we will not doubt His plan. Just this week, when I had to leave an event early because of a vicious migraine that had me crying all the way home, I cried out to God that in that moment, my faith was so weak. What’s important is to move on from that moment, continue talking with Him and studying His word.

*right hand = Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of God, making intercession for us ; messiah, equal portion, honor, power,

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Do you have a time in your life that you know for a fact it was His protection that got you through? I’d love to hear about it!

I hope you have enjoyed this study with me and as I said above, do check out the other studies in this series – Virtue , Hope , faithfulness, hospitality, authenticity and wholesome speechexpectations and listening.

Striving for a Virtuous Life – Listening

9 Sep

I have been thinking and praying over the topic for this month’s Virtue series. A few days ago, a word stuck in my mind – Listening. As a society we don’t listen anymore – not an active listening that shows respect, interest and value in what the other person is saying. That fact has been touted for years, so i’m sure that it doesn’t surprise you , but have you (we) done anything to improve our own habit of not-really-paying-attention? Now, I don’t know if you thought this when you read that but I pictured cell phones. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go on a tangent about how we need to turn our phones off and pay attention to our lives – we really do need to though – for that is just another aspect that has helped us in this downward spiral that people as a whole have been on for generations.

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Just last night I was telling my OH how I have some relatives who, when sitting down to dinner, they wait until all are ready and then begin and no one leaves the table until everyone has finished. Being the slowest eater at almost every table, I appreciate this small courtesy.

What does that have to do with listening? Well, I linked it in this way – being willing to wait until everyone is done at the table before leaving shows respect to each one there. In the same way, actively listening to those around you shows the same respect, but perhaps in a higher way.

How many arguments/disagreements have you had because one of you didn’t truly listen to what the other said? Sometimes it is because our own way of thinking got in the way, “they said this so they must have meant this.” and so  begins the hurt and frustration and lashing out. When they were actually trying to give a compliment, ask gently for something or so on. Our past experiences, even going so far as to our childhood, affect how we hear. Do you have trigger words? I once sat down with my OH and wrote down the words that instantly cause our stress levels to shoot up – I had a decent sized list sad to say, while he had only one. Which, in some ways, is worse I believe, depending on the word. But it can be just a simple choice of words that can make me irrationally mad. But by knowing those trigger words, I am able to recognize them and mentally take a step back – often avoiding an argument. I highly recommend anyone doing this quick process – it helps you know yourself better and inproves your listening skills.

If you would like, feel free to check out the other studies – Virtue , Hope , faithfulness, hospitality, authenticity and wholesome speech and expectations. There is no specific order for this study! A few ‘boring’ things before we get started – I will get all my meanings from dictionary.reference.com unless otherwise stated. For my verses, I will be using my Complete Jewish Bible, unless otherwise stated.

Listening:

  •  to give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing; give ear.
  • to pay attention; heed; obey (often followed by to)
  • to wait attentively for a sound (usually followed by for)

to God:

James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

Matt 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

Prov 16:20 “Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.”

Deut 13:4 “It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.”

Each one of these verses speaks on doing, not just hearing His word. Now, this being a study on listening, how does this apply? LISTEN to His word in the way that it reaches your heart and mind, not just your ears. Hear His commands so deeply that they turn to actions. If we do this, we will be blessed – not in the way of the world, but in God’s way. We will grow in His wisdom.

Luke 12:3 “What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.”

This goes hand in hand with a quote I recently ran across, and promptly wrote on a sticky note , “2 things to remember in life: Take care of your thoughts when you’re alone   and Your words when you’re with people.”

To others:

Prov 18:13 “He who answers before listening– that is his folly and his shame.”

Prov 18:2 ” A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.”

Prov 10:19 “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”

If we are actively listening, it is rather difficult to be talk,talk, talking. The first verse convicts me a little for I know how guilty I am of this, even if it is only inwardly where I stop listening in order to get my answer ready. And how often I realize too late that my answer no longer fits with what they were saying! Exactly what the verse says is what happens – shame, embarrassment. If we learn to listen all the way through what the person says, we will understand them better and will gain wisdom over time.

Titus 3:2 “to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.”

James 1:26 “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”

By keeping our mouth closed, and our ears open, we show that our faith is true. We show respect for others and humility. If we do not – the opposite is true.

Prov 17:27 ” A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.”

James 1:19 ” My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,”

The Proverbs verse reminds me of a character in one of the novels I recently read – he was known as a man of God, a man of wisdom. He knew God’s word, he knew to wait on the Lord for what to say. Even knowing he was not real, I longed to talk with him. Don’t laugh! I longed to be close to someone so in tune with the Lord and His word. The verse in James is often quoted for a reason – if we followed these instructions more closely, our relationship with the Lord, and with those around us,would be much deeper  – and our example as believers would be so much more impactful.

A pretty printable for you:

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Active Listening is a trait I want to cultivate in my life continually and  I pray that it is something everyone strives for,

Laura

I hope you have enjoyed this study with me and as I said above, do check out the other studies in this series – Virtue , Hope , faithfulness, hospitality, authenticity and wholesome speech and expectations.

Striving for a Virtuous Life – Hospitality

6 Apr

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While looking up verses for this month’s installment, I was surprised at how many there were! Makes you figure, if it is mentioned so many times all throughout the Bible, it must be something important that we should be focusing on! To open our home to guests and strangers -all with the same manner – open, gracious, friendly. By sharing what we have – which is all a blessing from God – we please Him and bless others!

It is so very easy to let the daily things of life get in the way of sharing our home, sharing our Lord with others but I really want to focus on it more now that we have a home just made for entertaining in! Yes, we did it in our last home but being as small (and lacking a dining table!) as it was,  it was a bit tight! We have already had more guests here in the last 5 months than I would have thought and I love it!

Before my OH and I even got married, we discussed how we wanted to have a welcoming home. One where people felt comfortable coming to for fun, or as a place to escape the trials of life for a while. I feel like we are off to a good start on this.

If you would like, feel free to check out the other studies – Virtue , Hope   and faithfulness. There is no specific order for this study! A few ‘boring’ things before we get started – I will get all my meanings from dictionary.reference.com unless otherwise stated. For my verses, I will be using my Complete Jewish Bible, unless otherwise stated.

Hospitality –

  • The friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers
  • The quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, gracious way

synonyms – warmth, cordiality, geniality, friendliness

Prov 31: 20 “She reaches out to embrace the poor and opens her arms to the needy”

I always picture a loving, smiling woman stretching out her arms, and embracing the hurting one with tenderness and strength.

Rom. 12:13 “Share what you have with God’s people, and practice hospitality.”

1 Pet. 4:9-11 ” Welcome one another into your homes without grumbling. As each one has received some spiritual gift, he should use it to serve others, like good managers of God’s many-sided grace – . . . if someone serves, let him do so out of strength that God supplies; so that in everything God may be glorified through Yeshua the Messiah – to Him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.”

the words that stand out to me are ‘ without grumbling’. ‘out of strength’ and ‘God may be glorified’.  I tend to forget that welcoming people in to my home to rest, eat and talk with , is a unique way to glorify God! It is a way to show His unending, unconditional love for all of us.

Lev. 19:34 ” Rather, treat the foreigner staying with you like the native-born among you – you are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am Adonai your God.”

Matt. 25:40 ” The King will say to them, “Yes! I tell you that whenever you did these things for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did them for me!”

Col. 3:23-24 “Whatever work you do, put yourself into it, as those who are serving not merely other people, but the Lord. Remember that as your reward, you will receive the inheritance from the Lord. You are slaving for the Lord, for the Messiah.”

Heb. 13:2 ” but don’t forget to be friendly to outsiders; for in so doing, some people, without knowing it, have entertained angels.”

A few examples of hospitality:

Gen 24:31 “Come on in!’ he said’ you whom Adonai has blessed! Why are you standing outside when I have made room in the house and prepared a place for the camels?”

I just love that not only did Lavan make room for Abraham’s servant, he made sure that his camels would be taken care of as well.

Acts 16:34 ” After that, he brought them up to his house and set food in front of them; and he and his entire household celebrated their having come to trust in God”

Job 31:32 ” No stranger had to sleep in the street; I kept my house open to the traveler.”

and here are a few more if you’d like to look them up!!

1 Tim.5:10

Titus 1:8

3 John 1: 5-8

I am reading the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery right now and how they term it is ‘having your latch-key out’ for so and so. Honestly, doing a google search doesn’t really help explain exactly what a latch key is, but i take it to mean that, for that person, the door to your home is never locked. If only we could have that philosophy these days, within reason of course, we are also to be smart in who we allow into our homes and lives.

And, as always, here are a few printables for you to put up about your house! (one for fancy printers, one for basic – like ours! )

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What are ways that you show hospitality? Is it something you feel is a strength in your own life? 

~Laura

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