Fruit of the Spirit

Fruit of the Spirit Study Series: Peace

I know I said I probably would not write this post on finding peace, but we all know what happens when we say we aren’t going to do something, right? God Steps In!

So here’s how the post, that I wasn’t going to write, came about. And let me tell you, I honestly had no intentions of writing this post.

Finding Peace Through Others

First

We had a guest speaker at church yesterday, Brother Reno Likins. He is an awesome Preacher! Brother Reno is the Director of Indian Creek Baptist Camp, and he is an Evangelist.

During morning services, Brother Reno made a statement that stuck with me.He said, “It is never too late for God to touch your life and give you the miracle you need.” ~ That’s some powerful stuff!

thumbnail of -It is never too late for God to touch your life and give you the miracle you need.-
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Finding Peace Through God’s Word

Second

This morning, after my Bible reading and prayer time, I started going through my emails where I came across my Generations Family Devotional for Monday.  The devotion was based on Psalm 119:153-160. Reading through the devotion I found this little gem:

It is better to come under the criticism of God’s law than the criticism of wicked men, who base their expectations on arbitrary standards.  For one thing, we know that God is more merciful than wicked men when we fail to meet their standards.  Let us continually come back to the laws of God and play by His rules.  When we fall short, let us confess our sins, seek forgiveness, and then walk according to His ways.

These two may not seem connected, but in my particular circumstance, believe me, they are.

Finding Peace Through Homeschooling

Third

During our together work this morning, the kids and I were reading in What on Earth Can I Do? — Biblical Worldview of Stewardship (What We Believe, Volume 4)  The portion we were reading was entitled “The Home Front”.  This is a story about the sacrifices a family in Great Britain had to make during World War II and how they kept their spirits up during this period of their lives. At one point in the story, the mom becomes “a bit Knackerd”. We’ve all been there, just tired of it all and ready to throw in the towel. Then Poppy (the father-in-law) encourages her with these words:

True, Hitler has threatened us with the weapons of human warfare, but we must remember at all times that the real war is not against Germany, Hitler, or any other human. Remember Paul’s words to the Christians in Ephesus: ‘For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this age.’ Satan would like nothing more than for us to give in to weariness and discouragement.” He goes on to say, “If we don’t know why we’re doing what we’re doing, then we’ll surrender when the going gets tough.” He further tells her this, “I get discouraged, too, my dear. If we focus on our problems, then it’s easy to lose heart. But when I do this one truth has helped me over and over: Nothing – absolutely nothing – can stop God from fulfilling His plans for this world. He can and will accomplish His good purposes – even through the evil that men do. This truth encourages me. The promises of God give me hope and help me stand“.

Fourth

During our devotions, the kids and I are reading Fruitful Families. Today our story involved a British missionary in Portugal, Eric Barker. The time period was World War II. Coincidence? I don’t believe so.

This is a passage from our reading:

He had preached the Gospel there for many years. His family was in such peril during the war that he accepted advice to send his wife and eight children to Britain for safety. His sister and her three children were evacuated on the same ship. Eric remained in Portugal to conclude some mission matters. 

The Sunday after Barker’s loved ones sailed, he stood before his congregation in Portugal and announced, ‘I have just received word that all my family have arrived safely home.’ He then went on with the service as usual.

It wasn’t until later that the full meaning of his words became known to his congregation. Prior to the service, he had received word that a submarine had torpedoed the ship and everyone on board had drowned. Because his family members were all believers, he believed they all arrived in their heavenly home.

Our verses for the day were Psalm 119:161-176, paying particular attention to verse 165,”Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”

Nothing Can Destroy Our Peace From God!

In the most extreme and painful situations, God gives us the peace we need.

Finally

While reading my evening devotion Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence I came across this passage:

Don’t let unexpected events throw you off course. Rather, respond calmly and confidently, remembering that I am with you. As soon as something grabs your attention, talk with Me about it. Thus I share your joys and your problems; I help you cope with whatever is before you. This is how I live in you and work through you. This is the way of Peace.”

I don’t know what you might be going through. Please remember, there is nothing that can steal your peace, you are giving it away! Don’t give up that power. God’s peace is always with you. Just grab hold and don’t let go.

So there is the post I wasn’t going to write on God’s peace. I hope this has been an encouragement to you.

I have created some Peace of God verse cards for you. These would be great to print off on cardstock or printer paper and laminate. You could even punch the corners and put them on a ring.

 

What unexpected people or things has God used to bring you peace? Please share with us. You never know who might be encouraged.

Many Blessings!!

 

Books mentioned in this post:

What on Earth Can I Do? -- Biblical Worldview of Stewardship (What We Believe, Volume 4)
What on Earth Can I Do? — Biblical Worldview of Stewardship (What We Believe, Volume 4)

 

 

 

 

 



Fruitful Families
Fruitful Families, Cultivating Spiritual Fruit
Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence
Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence

Fruit of the Spirit Study Series: Joy

This is the second post in the Fruit of the Spirit Study Series.  If you missed the first post you can find it here.  This study series has been such a blessing to me.  Going through Scripture, there’s just so much to be learned and applied daily.  God’s Spirit has really been dealing with me during this study.  I hope that you don’t just read this post, but dig into the Scriptures.  Now on to the fruit of Joy!


Joy – A deep abiding inner rejoicing promise to those who abide in Christ, a glorious and triumphant state.  A fruit of the Spirit; characterized by gladness or delight.

The word “joy” is found in the King James Bible more than 165 times!  Joy is a choice.  Joy is a byproduct of living life in the Spirit.  It is an outgrowth of our faith and belief in Jesus Christ. We can choose to have the joy that only comes from Jesus or we can choose to let the world and the devil beat us down.  The devil wants our joy and in turn, he gives us depression, oppression, misery, griping, complaining, moaning, anger, and self-pity.  The more we try to go forward, the more the devil is going to pull us backward.

Thankfully our joy is not found in the world or the circumstances in which we find/put ourselves!  True joy rises above circumstances. Joy comes from a consistent relationship with Jesus Christ.  When our lives are intertwined with His, He will help us walk through those hard times. Christ wants us to be joyful.  The key to immeasurable joy is living in close contact with Jesus, HE IS OUR SOURCE OF JOY!

I WILL greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul SHALL be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.”  (Isaiah 61:10a)


Joy in the Presence of God

 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge and joy…” (Ecclesiastes 2:26a)  Those who really know how to enjoy life are the ones who take life each day as a gift from God, thanking Him for it and serving Him in it.

The origin of joy is in the presence of God.  Our true joy in Jesus proclaims the true joy of Jesus.  “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

In the presence of God, we not only find joy but the FULLNESS of joy! God does not need our praise, but we need to praise God. By basking in His presence we drink in the joy of His infinite love and rejoice in the One who came to redeem and restore us.

God’s attention is on us, but we must keep our attention on Him to enjoy the fullness of His presence in our lives. We must invite God to be involved in everything we do, and then remember to praise Him for His goodness.

O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.  Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.  For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” (Psalm 95:1-3)

The person who loves to spend time in God’s presence will view adverse circumstances as opportunities to experience God’s faithfulness and blessings.  E. Leonard Small said, “Joy is the standard that flies on the battlements of the heart when the King is in residence.”  Amen!


Joy in Giving

Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

This was a time to celebrate and to give gifts to those in need so that they got to celebrate as well.  In giving we are serving God with cheerfulness and thankfulness, which is our duty, and this will give us that strength both of mind and body which we so greatly need.

As every man purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly or out of compulsion; for God loveth the cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)  God is more concerned with HOW we give than with WHAT we give.  Our attitude in giving can determine whether blessings will follow or not. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10)

We have been created in the image of God, therefore, we are to reflect the very nature of God and what better example of giving than in Him giving His own Son! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Let the message of God’s love and salvation in Christ prompt you to rejoice again and sing praises today!


Joy in Being in the House of God

When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.” (Psalm 42:4)

How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!  My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.  Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God.  Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.” (Psalm 84:1-4)

There’s nothing better than getting out of the world and into God’s house. Here we find joy, joy in praying, joy in singing, joy in teaching, joy in preaching, and joy in fellowship.  This is also a great opportunity to get the joy of giving!


Joy in Obedience

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matthew 5:3-12)

The Sermon on the Mount is all about faithful obedience from the heart. It’s like a code of conduct, a challenge for us in our behavior.  The beatitudes contrast what is eternal with what is temporary and they must be taken as a whole. We cannot pick and choose which ones we want to follow.

Each beatitude tells us how to be blessed and being “blessed” by God means we experience great hope and JOY!

Joy in the Lord is obedience, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4).  “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.” (Psalm 32:11)


Joy in Peace

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:13)

Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.” Proverbs 12:20)

As John Piper says, “…there could be no true heart experience of Christian joy without the heart experience of Christian peace. And there could be no true heart experience of Christian peace without that being a heart experience of Christian joy.”  Joy and peace are greatly entwined and peace just so happens to be the next fruit in our study series!

There’s just so much about joy in God’s Word, but for now, I leave you with a quote from one of my all-time-favorite-people, Abraham Lincoln. He said, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.  Be determined to be joyful, no matter what!

Much Love & Many Joyful Blessings!!

Get your Joy verse cards to print, laminate. and put on a ring or carry in your pocket or just hang on your wall.

 

 

Fruit of the Spirit Study Series: Love

As I mentioned in The Choice to be Fruitful, I have begun my study series in the fruit of the Spirit, beginning with love.  Our definition of love must come from God (1 Corinthians 13:4-5), Who is holy, just, and perfect. “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love“, 1 John 4:8.  God is the Author, Giver, Enabler, Origin, and Definer of love.

Fruit of the Spirit Love

Love was God’s original intention for us from the beginning.  All of God’s actions flow from His love.  Everything God does is motivated by His love.  Love is the Essence of Gods Divine Nature.

Love was the reason for creation.  We are here because we are the objects of God’s love.  We were made that we might experience His love.  We were made in the image and likeness of God and God is love, so in order for us to become who God meant us to be, then we must also love.

Adam and Eve were never told to love one another.  Then there was the fall and we lost our inclination to act lovingly one to another.  Loving one another fulfills God’s original intent.  Jesus came to bring us back into a right relationship with God.  And that relationship includes a right relationship with each other.

God reveals how much He loves us by sending His Son to repair the damage our sins have done to that relationship.  “Not only to mend that broken bridge but to be the Bridge itself.  So that we can walk across that Bridge into a new life with Him” (Unknown)

Jesus is proof of God’s love!

1 John 4:9 say, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  Jesus is our example of what it means to love. He is God’s expression of love.

thumbnail of There is nothing we can do to make God love us any more

We talk about Jesus dying for us and we have communion to celebrate Jesus dying for us, but the love of God needs to work its way down into the core of our being so that it is demonstrated out of our love for others.

When we know that we are loved and forgiven and that God’s favor really rests upon us, it can change everything about the way we live our lives.  It can change the way we relate and react to others.

God’s love is so amazing, unbending, consistent, faithful, forgiving, and comforts us when we hurt.  The only way to respond to such a source of love is to pass it on to others.  We need to model His love and copy His behavior.

Because of this broken world that we live in, love can be about self-gratification and self-centeredness.  If we aren’t careful we can bring this into our relationship with God.  We can think of God as being someone Who exists for us, just to make us feel good, to do for us.  God’s love is far greater and far bigger than this!

God’s love is an example that takes us beyond self-interest.  It overwhelms and consumes us with extreme joy and gratitude because of what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do for us.  He gives us love so that we can pass it on.

1 John 4:7 says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”  It is our love for each other that demonstrates a witness to the unsaved.  It confirms the authenticity of Jesus, the Gospel story, and what God is like.  When others see us loving one another they begin to take notice and they want to know what makes us so different from what they are used to seeing in the world.  When people see that we all matter and each of us is important it sends a different message to the world.

The way we develop the fruit of love is by being put in situations where we need to use it, then actually using it.  Like a muscle that is inactive will become weak, but when we use that muscle, each time it becomes a little bit stronger. Resulting in our love growing a little bit more for others and we can act not react.

We need to pray every day for the Spiritual fruit of love, let the Holy Spirit flow through us, and develop our love walk.  We need to be brave and bold enough to say, “God, whatever I need to go through to get to where You want me to be, I want to go through it and grow to be the person You want me to be”.

One of the purposes of God sending His Spirit into our heart is so we can display, not just have, the fruit of the Spirit, the fruit of love.  The Holy Spirit gives us the power to love.  “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:5

Love is not theory and it is not just talking, but it is deeds.  We must do what needs to be done in every situation, what God would have us to do.  We need to focus on how we act, sound, treat people, and be about doing for others.  We need to give ourselves to God and let God take care of us so we can go take care of somebody else.

Be What You’re About

The best place to start is in our homes.  You know, the ones we treat the worst. The ones that we think have to put up with it because we think they can’t get away from us. Which is exactly why so many marriages are failing and families are being torn apart. Sooner or later people do get fed up and they don’t want to put up with it anymore.

I don’t know how many times I have said to one of my children, “You would never treat your friend like that, why do you treat your brother/sister that way?”  But stepping back and being totally honest, I am guilty of that very act myself.  We need to be more kind, especially to our children.  We are setting the example!  “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:29,32

Ye shall know them by their fruits” Matthew 7:16a  We really never know what kind of fruit we have until it is squeezed.  If you want to see people’s hearts, watch their fruit.  When thrown into a situation watch their character, how they treat people, and their attitude.  We are judged by our fruit!  The world needs to see us living out what we say we believe.

The love of God is in our hearts. My prayer is that you feel the love of God today and pass that love on to everyone you encounter.  Make each day a special gift!

I have created some Love verse cards for you. These would be great to print off on cardstock or printer paper and laminate. You could even punch the corners and put them on a ring, or hand where you will see often.

 

 

Next post: Joy

Much Love & Many Blessings!!

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