February 14 – A Lady Named Abigail

fruit-of-self-control

I challenge you to read up on Abigail Adams. The wife of our second president, John Adams, Mrs. Adams has much to say to this present generation concerning our ability to control “self.” She was known for her ability to look a bad situation in the eye and say something good. One story I recently read told about her month-long voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to meet her husband and son following a seven-year separation.

The trip was long and grueling in tight quarters with few amenities. After weeks of sailing through storms and fighting seasickness, Mrs. Adams became the encourager of the passengers and crew alike. Instead of giving into her anger at losing even their bare necessities in the storm and the almost disgusting state of the inside of the ship, she decided to pick one project a day that would better their surroundings until the entire ship had been scrubbed from end to end.

After the arduous trip was over, Mrs. Adams still faced another test. Upon arriving in London, she soon found that her husband wasn’t even there, he was in Paris. Many encouraged her to hop on a ship to France. And she was torn with misery at the prospect of waiting several more weeks for her husband after such a long time.

But she finally decided to stay right where she was, according to the original plan her husband had made. What she did not know then was that Mr. Adams was already on his way to meet her. Acting impulsively would have only prolonged their lengthy separation!

I think of Abigail Adams sometimes, in the day-to-day moments of needing self-control. I heard one woman speaking about this subject and I loved her take on it. She said, “Our response is usually that we CAN’T stop yelling, or cussing, or speeding, or whatever. But the truth is that we CAN!

Just watch a woman who’s been yelling at everyone open her front door to the Kirby salesman. Guess what? Her face totally changes, and she greets him with a smile as she says, “Come on in!”

Isn’t that a funny picture? You bet we can exhibit self-control when we WANT TO. I challenge you to read Galatians 5 when you have some time. Paul says that one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control.

This means that you have the ability to control “self” inside of you, right now, if you have given your life over to the Lord. Self-control is internal. It’s all about putting the right things inside of your “toothpaste tube” so when pressure comes, the right things will come out!

Spend some time today in God’s Word, ask the Lord to “set a watch over your mouth,” and practice moment by moment putting “self” in its place. You’ll be glad you did!

The Character First I WILL’s for Self-Control:

I WILL not act impulsively

I WILL not equate desires with rights

I WILL set my own limits

I WILL see anger as a sign that something is wrong

I WILL walk away from things that aren’t right

Jenny 🙂

The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:7-8 NIV

Biblical Meditation: Psalms 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.

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January 21 – Pay Attention

we-never-look-up

One of the attributes of the presence of God’s Spirit in an individual’s life is self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). So, when we spend daily time in prayer and in God’s Word, it is guaranteed that our flesh will “pitch a fit” from time to time.

It’s all because of our basic sin nature that wants to do what it wants to do when it wants to do it! And the only way you can tame this thing is to attend to God’s Word daily. If you take a day off from the Word, the next day that fleshly-sin nature will rear up when you least expect it!

Paying attention is a discipline that is in dire need of cultivation in all of our lives. We all live in a society that is bombarded with distractions flying at us by the second!

Take for instance, the handy, dandy, cell phone. Have you ever been in a meeting or just having an important conversation with an individual when all of a sudden, your cell phone rang? What happened?

Nine times out of ten, we answer the phone. Guess how I know? I have been that person more times than I care to admit! The bottom line remains, when someone is talking to you and you are attending to something else, that person doesn’t have your full attention!

 In the same way, when other matters have your focus and God’s Word is floating somewhere in the background, there’s no way for you to be sure what He is speaking to you. Here are some quotes from a wonderful curriculum we use in our family called Character First.

In the area of attentiveness, there are five “I Wills” that are necessary to show that we are being attentive:

I WILL look at the person speaking

I WILL ask questions when I don’t understand

I WILL sit or stand up straight

I WILL not draw attention to myself

I WILL keep my eyes, ears, hands, feet and mouth from distractions

If this would be our daily posture before our God and His Word, I’m sure we’d be amazed at the level of clarity by which He speaks!

 My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh. Proverbs 4:20-22 Amplified

 Biblical Meditation: Proverbs 5:1, 2 My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge.