Archive for the ‘inspirational’ Category

Self-Control – A Word Study – Day 2

Self-Control n.
control or restraint of oneself or one’s actions, feelings, etc.
syn. self-discipline, self-restraint, willpower, levelheadedness

Today’s Verse: Acts 24:25

  • But Felix was frightened when Paul started talking to them about doing right, about self-control, and about the coming judgment. So he said to Paul, “That’s enough for now. You may go. But when I have time I will send for you.” [CEV]
  • As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” [NIV]
  • And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. [KJV]
  • But as he continued to argue about uprightness, purity of life (the control of the passions), and the judgment to come, Felix became alarmed and terrified and said, Go away for the present; when I have a convenient opportunity, I will send for you. [Amplified]

In Context:
Paul was in prison awaiting trial for blasphemy — a charge leveled by the Sanhedrin. Felix was the provisional governor in charge of the case. History records Felix as being a ruthless governor “who practiced every kind of cruelty and lust*”. Felix kept Paul in prison for two years. Biblical scholars surmise that his reluctance to release Paul was motivated by his need to curry favor from the Jews, while his unwillingness to find Paul guilty may have been prompted by conscience, but it was more likely Felix was waiting for a bribe.

Biblical & Contemporary Connotations:
We don’t much like hearing about our failings, be they in self-control or any other aspect of our lives,  and we would rather flee than face our shortcomings.

Journal Response:
My first response when somebody points out one of my faults is to defend it.  I much prefer thinking I am perfect and that everybody loves me just the way I am — unfortunately, that isn’t very realistic.

I am naturally very reflective and always have been.  I’d like to think that gives me an advantage in the area of character development, but that could be just another of my self-delusions.  {Perhaps a Word Study on “false pride” is also in order.}  At any rate, no matter how well or poorly I respond when criticized, I do try to find the strength to examine the accusation.

Sometimes my examinations aren’t too healthy.  I use whatever accusation was leveled at me to kindle an indignant fire in my heart and I seethe, making up nasty comebacks and hateful, hurting things I wish I had said in response.  On the other hand I sometimes just accept the charges as they were leveled and mentally beat myself with them.  Usually, either of these responses, despite being self-destructive, feels pretty good.  I feel more self-righteous when I suffer the slings and arrows of others — but it isn’t productive.

While writing the above it dawned on me that self-control and self-esteem are Siamese twins and one cannot be separated from the other.  Without self-control, I have no foundation upon which to build good self-esteem; and without good self-esteem, I cannot grow better self-control.  Oh my.  This may take more thought.  Does anyone else have any ideas to add?

When I do manage to calm myself down enough to evaluate the acquisitions leveled against my character, I usually start by asking why the accusation was made.  Was the person who confronted me trying to help me or hurt me?   Next, I ask myself why I am angry — is my pride hurt, or my “I’m perfect” feelings? Until I get a handle on the why and what of someone’s claim against me, I cannot begin to access whether or not the person confronting me has a valid point.

If I come to the conclusion that the person confronting me doesn’t have a valid point, my self-examination can end.  If however — as is usually the case — the accusation has cause and substance, then I have work to do.  First off, I probably need to apologize.  Then, me being me, I will sit down and make a mental checklist to keep me from following the same path again.  However –thankfully — more often than not, just having an unconcious fault brought into the light, examined and identified for what it is, defeats it with barely a relapse.

The problem comes when a fault we’ve made into a habit and claimed as a virtue is challenged.  For instance, I have been struggling for years to identify the proper point at which to stop eating.  FULL is too much.  Not hungry is the place one should stop eating.  How does one find that place when all their thoughts, attitudes and comforts have been built upon full?


Just because my self-control issue at the moment is weight-loss, doesn’t mean your self-control issue has to be the same.  If you have something of value to add to this meditation, please do so!

Heavenly Father, I feel there is further revelation just out of my grasp.  Help me to better understand my jumbled thoughts as I process this Bible reading.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

*Tacitus, ancient Roman writer

Self-Control – A Word Study – Day 1

Self-Control n.
control or restraint of oneself or one’s actions, feelings, etc.
syn. self-discipline, self-restraint, willpower, levelheadedness

Today’s Verse: Proverbs 25:28

  • Losing self-control leaves you as helpless as a city without a wall. [CEV]
  • Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control. [NIV]
  • A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out. [The Message]
  • He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. [KJV]

Biblical Connotation:
During Biblical times, if a city was without a wall it was without defenses and could easily be destroyed from the inside.

Contemporary Connotation:
If we are without self-control, we destroy ourselves from the inside.

Journal Response:
A lack of self-control leads us me to destroy myself. Without self-control I am vulnerable to every whim or want that tickles my fancy.

1.) Spending Habits:
I managed to control my spending habits, first by exercising the self-control of not looking at shopping ads or television commercials. I learned very quickly that I could live without “impossible to live without” things is I didn’t know they existed. The next thing I did to control my spending habits was to shop with a list that contained only needs. If I picked up an item not on my list I could not put it in my cart until I answered the following questions:

  • Can I live without it?
  • How will this change my life for the better?
  • How will this change my life for the good?
  • How will I feel about this next week? Next month? Next year?
  • Who am I trying to impress with this purchase?
  • What am I willing to sacrifice to have this?
  • And finally, if the impulse purchase item in question costs over $20.00, I am not allowed to buy it until I have waited at least 24 hours. If it cost over $100.00, I make myself wait at least 3 days before purchasing — and as a result I most often don’t purchase the item at all.

2.) Impatience:
My first day of school as a brand new teacher I gave myself a lecture on self-control. “You may not be impatient with the students over your own mistakes.” That was a biggie because often frustration — be it with myself, a stubborn bottle top, unexpected delays, or someone else’s behavior — tweaks my temper. I’m human so I’m impatient, that’s to be expected — however, routinely giving in to that impatience and taking it out on others isn’t acceptable behavior. Now when I feel myself growing impatient I have some questions I stop and consider:

  • Why am I impatient?
  • Is it fixable and who needs to fix it?
  • How quickly can it be fixed?
  • What is the fairest and easiest way to handle this?
  • If it can’t be fixed, how do I work around it?

Generally just asking the questions alleviates the frustration. For some reason petty annoyances that when indulged carry enough power to start a world war, simply dissolve under careful scrutiny. If the frustration does not dissipate, then I have counter measures in place to alleviate the problem; and while one of those methods is confrontation, it generally isn’t a snarl or a growl, but a statement of fact and a suggestion or request. “Johnny, that pencil thumping is getting on my last nerve. Please stop or I am going to get irritated and nasty and I just might cancel recess.” Such steps usually get compliance.

3.) Weight-loss
My current problem is weight-loss.  I already know one of the questions I need to ask myself before I eat is, “Are you really hungry?”  But this one is hard for me.  I have a lifetime of habits and mental conditioning to overcome.  Food is comfort and saftey and belonging.  Food is love.  Where do I get the self-control to break those chains?  Where do I get the motivation to exercise daily?  I decided to start here, with this word study.


If you have any self-control issues please join me.  Your thoughts, ideas, successes and/or failures are welcome in the comments.  Please stay on topic.

Heavenly Father, please help me as I study self-control to learn to manage every aspect of my life wisely, with thought and deliberation.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

My Name Is “I Am”

I was regretting the past and fearing the future.
Suddenly my Lord was speaking:

“My name is, I Am.”

He paused.

I waited.

He continued,

“When you live in the past with it’s mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not, I Was.

When you live in the future, with its problems and fears, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not, I Will Be.

When you live in this moment, it is not hard. I am here. My name is, I Am.”

Helen Mallicoat