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The Fruit of the Spirit this week is Joy. I’ve chosen a watermelon because it’s a fruit I usually eat in the summer months, which means the weather is most likely hot, and experiencing the heat (90+) brings me great joy.
Joy is a feeling of great happiness. It’s when you are pleased or happy. Joy is when you experience an emotion of great delight caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying.
Rejoice always ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16
When you encounter joy you can’t help but rejoice. You show or express outwardly, the joy you feel. When I’m experiencing a joyous moment, my go to reaction is usually to cry or weep. For example, I recently sent my son off, on his 13th birthday, to camp with a group from our church. I was extremely happy for him and excited to hear, when he returned, how he encountered God while there. This brought me great joy, so of course I had many moments, while saying our goodbyes, of secretly sobbing behind my sunglasses. How do you usually react when overcome with joy?
Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. ~Psalm 47:1
Praising God during worship on Sunday mornings fills me with joy and I often find myself unable to sing (not that I could). I become overcome with joy thinking of what God has done for me through His Son, Jesus. I use to try desperately to hold back the tears, afraid it would make someone uncomfortable or I would be seen as an over emotional weirdo. I can handle the later, because in reality, I am. What brings you great joy?
Do not be full of joy when the one who hates you falls. Do not let your heart be glad when he trips. The Lord will see it and will not be pleased, and He will turn away His anger from him. ~Proverbs 24:17-18
There are times, as explained in Proverbs 24, when it is not a proper time to feel joy. When we do let ourselves express joy, outwardly or even within our hearts or minds, we can lose a blessing from God.
True joy is a gift given to us through the Holy Spirit. When our hearts and minds are focused on the goodness of God we can experience joy, regardless of our circumstances.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to see the joy you offer us rather than the joys within the world. I pray we would keep the worldly things behind us as we focus on Jesus and what He has done for us, Amen.
The Fruit of the Spirit this week is Patience. I’ve chosen a pomegranate because it’s a fruit that takes time and effort to eat. You cannot simply grab it and take a bite. You must work at it. First open it, and then get through the maze of its inner pieces to get to the scrumptious juicy morsels inside. This my friend takes patience.
Patience is being able to stay calm and not get annoyed under any circumstance. A patient person can also bear provocation, misfortune or pain without complaining, losing their temper or becoming irritated. A patient person is quiet, works with steady perseverance and is even-tempered.
Patience is the one thing I often hear we should not pray for, because God will answer by giving us a situation in which patience is needed. I don’t know about you, but I think patience is the most difficult Fruit of the Spirit to master. When have you seen someone demonstrate patience? How did it affect your mood or behavior?
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:9-14
As it says in Colossians, we as believers in Christ Jesus, have the ability to call upon His power, which will strengthen us, equipping us with the patience needed within our circumstances. When we lose our temper or become irritated, it’s because we have taken our focus off our heavenly Father and looked to our own selfish desires or needs. You see, only God, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit can enable us to demonstrate true patience in all situations.
I lack patience with my family more often than I should. I lose my temper when they don’t treat me the way I think they should and then I fail greatly at being quiet. I can even get irritated when they don’t take my advice and do what I think they should. Imagine that! When have you lost your patience? Without a doubt, I always seem to lose mine when I don’t take that second to call upon Jesus in the difficult times.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank You for Your patience with us. You shower us with love, grace and mercy every day, offering guidance. I pray we would call upon the power of Jesus and the help of the Holy Spirit, so we too may serve with patience in all areas of our lives, Amen.
The Fruit of the Spirit this week is gentleness. I’ve chosen a peach to represent gentleness because they are easily bruised, so we need to handle them with care. Similar to the people in our lives. We must treat every relationship delicately, because people are easily bruised.
Having gentleness is behaving in a kind, calm manner, being polite and soothing regardless of the people or environment around you.
The dictionary says gentleness is a person with a mild temperament or someone who isn’t harsh or rough. It also says it’s someone who isn’t affected by criticism.
Gentleness is an attribute of God I struggle with daily. I find myself being more abrasive than mild when seeking things to fulfill my to-do list. I often show up to the church mid week with a list of things I need to take care of or check on and feel like I’m always on a time crunch. I know it should always be about the people I work with, not the job or task I do with them, but I struggle it. I think I more often than not, run in, blast a list of needs and run back out leaving everyone’s heads spinning. It takes every ounce of effort I have to interact in a gentle manner and not like a crazy person who’s had too much caffeine.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. Philippians 4:5
Gentleness is asking someone how their day is going before asking for help. It’s gently encouraging someone to make a change without judging their actions. It’s a willingness to accept a decision or suggestion gracefully from another. It’s being friendly and social in an uncomfortable or awkward situation. Do people find you easily to approachable?
Gentleness is not yelling when someone accidently breaks a tile on the kitchen counter. It’s not reacting harshly when a flying dart hits you in the face. It’s choosing not to tell someone how much they annoy you when they’ve decided to let you know how stupid they think you are. It’s politely explaining yourself even when it’s the 20th time. It’s completing a task for someone, without being asked, and expecting nothing in return. When was the last time you stepped in to help someone without being asked?
“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29
Jesus is our one true example of someone who is gentle. He offers us the gentleness we need to experience in our life as well as teach us, through the Holy Spirit, how to be the example of gentleness to others.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, You gently call us to You, through Your word and those You place in our lives. I pray we would be a reflection of Your gentleness, Amen.
The Fruit of the Spirit this week is self-control. I’ve chosen a lime to represent self-control because when we don’t have self-control in front of others it can leave them with a sour taste.
Having self-control is the ability not to show your feelings or not do things that your feelings make you want to do.
The dictionary states self-control is to refrain or avoid or be stable, calm or harmonious. It also says having self-control means not to agitate, excite, indulge or upset. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a very tall order. I find myself challenged with all of the above almost hourly, especially when with my family.
Self-control is not cursing loudly when you step in a pile of cat vomit as it squishes between your toes. It’s not reacting rudely when someone interrupts you. It’s not screaming at someone when they accidently ram their scooter into your leg.
Self-control is asking politely with a smile, even when it feels like it’s the 100th time you’ve asked. It’s being careful with others things, even if they have not been careful with yours. It’s smiling and calmly listening when someone’s yelling at you because they’re upset. It’s resisting a third cupcake even though you know it would taste oh so good.
Self-control is not letting your circumstances dictate your thoughts, words or actions. Having self-control is putting the feelings of someone else above your own and acting or speaking in a way to be helpful, not harmful.
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ Titus 2:11-13
As hard as I try to be an example of a wife, mom, daughter, friend or Christian who has self-control, I fail miserably every day. Whenever I do appear to have self-control, it’s not by my own doing. It’s only by the grace of God, the help of the Holy Spirit, that I am able to resist reacting in a hysterical awful ridiculous manner throughout my day. Praise be to God for His goodness!
What does self-control look like to you? When have you witnessed it? How have you been an example of self-control? When do you find it difficult to have self-control?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, You gave us Your Son, Jesus, who was the perfect example of self-control. I pray for strength to choose what is right, even though it may not be easy, Amen.
Over the past few months I’ve been meditating, studying and praying over the attributes of God because I desire to know my Creator, Abba Father, more intimately. While doing this, God has given me the desire to know the attributes He calls all who live by the Spirit to live by. The attributes He enables all who believe in His Son, Jesus, to have.
Galatians chapter 5 tells us not to get caught up trying to justify our actions within the law. We are to faithfully follow Jesus, who is all about relationships. We are to act in a way that mimics how Jesus lived while here on earth. Our lives are to be pleasing, glorifying and honoring to God, our creator and sustainer.
We should not blame others for our actions because we are each given freewill and the ability to make choices. Do you choose to be persuaded by the lies of Satan, who wants to steal, kill and destroy everything good? Or do you choose to look past the frustrating, hard, painful, sorrowful circumstances you may experience occasionally throughout your life? Which do you think is pleasing to God- causing confusion or bringing encouragement to others? Which do you prefer, being confused or encouraged?
We are reminded that the freedom we are given through Christ Jesus was not so we could gratify our desires, but rather to humbly serve one another in love. The law we are to focus on and live by is to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are to treat everyone, regardless of how they treat us, the way we wish to be treated. Would you rather receive love, grace and mercy from those around you as you stumble through difficult times in your life? Or would you rather everyone around you have high expectations and demands regardless of the your personal struggles?
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:26
Galatians chapter 5, verses 22-23 is where we find the Fruit of the Spirit. Over the next 9 weeks I will take a look at each attribute to see what it should look like in our lives as we live them out in our every day lives. Today I’d like to look at verses 19-21 and verse 26 where we are given attributes not to live by, which are as follows:
- Sexual Immorality~ Going beyond proper bounds with our bodies
- Impurity~ Doing things to please man, not God
- Debauchery~ Lack of restraint, easily allured from your duties
- Idolatry~ Placing something above God
- Witchcraft~ Seeking wisdom, guidance and understanding from something other than God
- Hatred~ Intense dislike or hostility toward
- Discord~ Lack of harmony with others, being harsh with others
- Jealousy~ Desiring what other have
- Fits of Rage~ Violent anger toward another
- Selfish Ambition~ Doing things to help yourself not others
- Dissensions~ Quarreling with others
- Factions~ To purposely cause division
- Envy~ Being upset others have things you desire
- Drunkenness~ Overcome by power
- Orgies~ Uncontrolled gratification of desires
- Conceited~ To flatter and talk about yourself above others
- Provoking~ To purposely annoy someone
I don’t know about you, but I struggle, on a regular basis, with many of these attributes. I often find myself feeling jealous when hearing of others doing things or going places I wish I could. Sometimes I purposely do something to annoy someone just because I can and I find their reaction funny. It’s cheap entertainment. The word debauchery sounds like such an evil thing (at least in my mind it does). But I must confess, I’m easily lured away from my duties. SQUIRREL! Which attribute listed do you struggle with most often?
The wonderful news is God does not expect us to change who we are or stop being who we think we need to be. God knows we can’t. As we seek to know God, study His Word, spend time with Him in prayer, He and He alone will change our heart. This will cause a ripple effect that will cause our thoughts, words and actions to change. The attributes of the old will fade away as the new attributes of the Holy Spirit, the Fruit of the Spirit, will pour out of us naturally.
My prayer for us today~ Father God, You know our heart and our deepest desires. I pray You would show us an attribute of ours that does not bring glory to You and help us replace it with an attribute that honors You, Amen.
I’m thankful for the hope I receive through my faith in Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead ~ 1 Peter 1:3
I’m confident in the strength, wisdom and power I receive daily from the Holy Spirit, which was given to me by Jesus, through the gift given to the world by God. I know I cannot do the things I do, such as write, speak, love and live with passion, on my own. It’s only with the guidance, wisdom, courage and strength given to me through the Holy Spirit by Jesus that’s allowed by God.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. ~ Hebrews 11:1
I cannot see these things being given to me, but I am sure I am receiving these gifts by God, because there is no one else able to give such gifts to another.
My belief, my hope, is that every circumstance, whether good or bad, will be used for good by God. There is a silver lining to every situation, even if we can’t see or understand it. We must trust God, who is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent-all powerful, all knowing and everywhere.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank You for the hope we have through Your Son, Jesus, who You sent for us. I pray You would open the eyes and heart of those who don’t understand what the death of Your Son on the cross means, so they may truly grasp the love You have for them, Amen.
I’m thankful for the obedience of Mary and Joseph when the angel Gabriel told them about the baby they would have. I wish I were as obedient to God as they were. I know I can be, but it’s so hard. It can be very difficult not to worry and let fear of what might happen take over and rule my mind. I’m thankful for the inspiring story of Joseph and Mary’s faith.
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. ~ Luke 1:26-38
Back in Mary’s day, a woman becoming pregnant before marriage was a sin, punishable by death. I would have been freaking out if I were Mary. Did Mary freak out? No, she simply asked a question so she could better understand what the angel Gabriel was talking about. I can’t fathom trying to comprehend having the Holy Spirit ‘come upon me’ causing me to become pregnant. Not even today. I think that explanation would bring hundreds of questions into my mind, leading me to say ‘thanks, but no thanks’. Mary did nothing even close to this. She answered calmly (I say calmly because there’s no exclamation point at the end of her answer) “My it be as you have said”.
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. ~ Matthew 1:18-25
Then there’s Joseph and how he reacted to the news. Joseph was worried about how Mary would be treated, so he was going to quietly divorce her. I love that he was concerned for her, so sweet. Since he was to stay with Mary, not divorce her, an angel spoke to Joseph in a dream. The angel explained the baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and was fulfilling what God spoke of through the prophet Isaiah. Can you imagine waking up from a dream about the actual crazy circumstances going on in your life and thinking ‘oh, okay, time to take Mary home as my wife’ without a second thought?
I think the humble obedience of Joseph and Mary should be an example to all of us, how we should respond when God speaks to us. Joseph and Mary were protected and taken care of for their obedience. How has God blessed you for your obedience?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for Joseph and Mary, who are examples of true obedience to You. Lord I pray we would seek clarity to know you better, not question due to disbelief, Amen.
I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit. God is so amazing! He knows I have a difficult time remembering what it is I’m suppose to do, so I have the Holy Spirit to help me out. All believers in Christ have received the Holy Spirit! I’m thankful the Holy Spirit not only helps me, it teaches me. It speaks to me, like a gentle soft loving voice deep within.
To me, the Holy Spirit is like a warm fuzzy blanket I get to carry around with me on the inside, where know one can disturb the comfort it brings me. How would you describe the Holy Spirit within you?
Just as it says in Romans 15:13, the Holy Spirit brings us hope. When we listen to the wisdom and guidance given by the Holy Spirit within, we will receive joy and peace, which leads to hope. Hope that all things will work out just as God plans and all He plans is good.
I’m thankful for the strength, courage and confidence I’ve received from the Holy Spirit. How has the Holy Spirit helped you this holiday season?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for sending each who believes in Your Son, Jesus, a helper, the Holy Spirit. Lord I pray we would always look within for it’s guidance and wisdom, Amen.
This statement, among a few others, have been stuck in my head for several weeks now. It’s convicting. It made me realize I don’t treat God as a holy God. I always see Him as a healer, a loving God, a God of grace and mercy. I see Him as a God with the perfect plan and timing. He is a God of detail and perfection. He is almighty and powerful. I can go on and on.
It’s weird, now that I think about it, how I never really thought of Him as a holy God. I’m not sure why. Maybe because it makes Him seem unreachable. Like I could never measure up to a holy God. It’s easier to think of God as a friend, teacher or Father, than holy.
In Exodus 31:13, One of the many things God tells Moses to tell the Israelites is, ‘I am the Lord, who makes you holy.’
There is nothing I can do to make myself holy. God desires me to be holy and God alone can make me holy. How does God make me holy?
Over the past few weeks in BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) I’ve been reading and learning about the many sacrifices the Israelites had to make daily and The Day of Atonement sacrifices that needed to be made yearly. I’ve also learned how they all pointed to the one sacrifice made on our behalf by God’s Son, Jesus Christ. He was the perfect lamb, sinless, who died for our sins.
So how does this help us to be holy? This made a way for us to have direct access to God. Jesus, the Son of God, interceded on our behalf. Because God is holy, we as sinners could not have direct access to God. Only the High Priest, once a year, could go before God, after several sacrifices were made. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for me and for you, for everyone!
Now that we have direct access to God we can go before him day and night. We can call upon him 24/7. As we do this, He will change our hearts. He will fill us with His desires. He will equip us to do His will. This is how He begins to make us holy. Reading his Word, the Bible, and studying His Word with others will also help us become more holy. The Bible is the living word of God. Reading and studying it will help us understand His heart and His love for us.
During the lecture last week at BSF, the teaching leader said something that completely changed the way I pray throughout the day. She said “You can’t just saunter up to God, you must do things His way.” After hearing this, I could hear God saying to me ‘because I am holy’.
Many times throughout my day, while driving, getting ready for the day or cleaning, I would start praying for people, places or circumstances. I would put thought into who or what I was praying for and try to be as detailed as possible. I figure, the more detailed I am the easier it will be to see when a prayer is or isn’t answered. I never gave any thought, really, about who God was. I simply started praying, believing prayers would be answered and He was listening. I didn’t think about what God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit did for me so that I could have the relationship with them that I had. I had completely taken it for granted.
I no longer wish to saunter up to God. I want to go before God clearly understanding how Holy He is. I want to go before God with a grateful heart. Grateful to be in a close relationship with Him. Grateful to have Jesus who continues to intercede on my behalf. Grateful for the Holy Spirit that lives within me and guides me throughout my days. I wish to go before God praising and thanking Him for all He has done, before bringing my requests to Him. Even if I only have a few minutes to pray, praise and thanksgiving should come first.
We will never be as holy as God, but God can begin to make us holy by us first remembering He is a Holy God and treat Him as so. This is a choice we must each make in our heart. What does your heart say?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, you are holy. You are the maker of heaven and earth, our creator and provider. Thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus, who You sent to intercede on our behalf. I pray Lord, we remember, throughout our days, how holy you are. I pray this transforms our hearts and minds so that we may be holy, as you wish us to be, Amen.