Bring joy with you

Gal. 5:22:. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

It was storming at our house last night, and the kids slept in our bed with me.  (Poor daddy got booted out)

At some point in the night I woke up with something under my cheek.  I discovered it was my daughter’s stuffed toy, named Joy.  She had brought Joy with her to the sleepover to help her not be afraid.  1488457801450-98661209

Sometimes we don’t naturally feel joy.  Storms: death, doctor reports, sickness, relationship problems, failed plans…lots of things can zap our joy.  The stuffed doll reminded me that sometimes we have to choose to take joy with us.

 In those moments when joy seems impossible or unattainable, we might just have to have the faith that we will feel it again.

The verse tells us that joy is fruit of the Spirit.  That is evidence that if we want to feel joy again, we need to stay plugged in to the source.

Weeping may be all we have for a bit, but as Ps. 30:5 says, joy comes in the morning.  It may take a little longer than we expected, but staying connected to the Lord, will ensure that we will feel joy again.

Don’t give up the hope of joy.  Just like my daughter carried her joy with her during the storm last night, take God with you wherever you go, He is the one that supplies the joy.

Don’t let go,

jamie

Which fruit are you eating?

Pr. 1:31:  “Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies.”

I have eaten the ‘fruit of my own way’ more times than I care to admit. I must say, that while it may have tasted sweet for a moment, it turned quickly bitter, and left an aftertaste not to be desired.

We’ve all done it.  We have wanted to be full of our own fancies, and have our own way.  Perhaps we have even tried to push the voice of wisdom to the back and keep trodding through the mud and muck of sin to have just a bit more.  Sad, but true, huh?

The beautiful thing about the fruit of the Spirit is that it doesn’t require such a struggle.  When we choose to live for God, and walk in the Spirit, we take the path without the mud.  In fact, we can soar above it, on wings like eagles.  There is no conscience to step over.  There is certainly no bitter taste.  And the aftertaste?  Heavenly.

I can’t help but think of the lyrics of Blessed Assurance that say, “Oh what a foretaste of glory devine.”  The fruit of God’s way not only nourishes and fills us here and now; its nutritional benefits are eternal and more wonderful than we can even begin to imagine.  Thank You, Lord, for Your fruit!

Bon Appetit!

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 25

Truly Your word is very pure, Lord.  I love it.  You are righteous!  Though trouble and anguish have attempted to overtake me, Your commandments have saved me.  I do not forget Your precepts.  The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting; give me understanding, and I shall live.  I would rather live with You as my God, than die in sin.

Do not let me falter before the wicked, like a murky spring or a polluted well.  Let my confidence be in You.  Help my countenance reflect the unspeakable joy that comes from knowing and serving You.

Through Your Holy Spirit, give me rule over my own spirit, so that I am not like a city broken down, without walls.  Self-control protects my heart from wandering from You and Your precepts.  Your Word gives me protection.  You are a shield to those who trust You.  Thank You, Lord!!!

I love You, Father.  Forgive me for anything I have placed before You.  Help me to break down every idol that has attempted to interpose itself between You and me.  You alone are my God.  You alone have brought me salvation.  You alone are my Healer.  You alone are the One, true, living God!  You alone are the Resurrection and the Life!  I want to live in You alone.

I love you My God and My King,

jamie

Fruit. (with a funny story at the end)

Pr. 27:19:  “As in water face reflects face, so a man’s heart reveals the man.”

What is truly in our hearts will be reflected in our actions.  We may think that we can walk in our own strength, outside of God’s will, and still appear to be living for Him, but our fruit will eventually give us away.  The truth of the fruit in our lives reveals what, or who, is really in our heart.

Galatians 5 says that when we are walking in the flesh, our fruit will show as adultery, fornication, uncleanness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.

When we are walking in the Spirit, our fruit will show as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The truth of the matter is that the fruit of the flesh is what comes most naturally for us.  In our natural state, we are selfish and indulgent.  The fruit of the Spirit is just that…His fruit.  It comes from walking with Him and allowing Him to be the One to feed, water, and fertilize us.  John 15:4 reminds us that we cannot bear fruit of ourselves, unless we abide in the Vine.  Jesus is the Vine, and our Father is the Vinedresser.  When we abide in Jesus, we will bear much fruit, and that fruit will be of the Spirit.

Our flesh wars against the Spirit, just as drought, pestilence, and heat war against healthy plants in nature. We must pay attention to the fruit we are bearing.  If we notice something rotten, then adjustments need to be made.  We need to ask God to fertilize, prune, protect, and water us with His Spirit and His Word, so that our fruit will once again be of Him.

NOTE:  As I was typing this, my son spilled milk on our cloth couch.  Instead of reacting in the flesh, yelling and belittling, allowing it to ruin our morning, or going out to buy a new couch, God gave me His Spirit to react with His fruit.  I was patient and kind with my son.  I practiced self-control by thoroughly cleaning the couch instead of throwing it out and buying a new one (like I wanted to do), and I was able to show joy as I laughed with my kids when they pretended the uncovered couch cushions were cloud town.  🙂  Thank you, God.  What a perfect example you allowed me to live out.

Abiding in the Vine,

jamie

Sowing harmony

Twice in Proverbs 6 there is mention of sowing discord.  How can we avoid sowing discord?

Becoming humble, understanding that we are imperfect ourselves, helps us not to sow discord.

Walking in the Spirit fills us with the fruit of the Spirit, which promote harmony:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Loving our neighbor as ourselves brings harmony.  If we truly love someone as ourselves, we will want things to be harmonious and not full of discord.

Serving others helps us to love them and to desire harmony with them and others.

Praying for those with whom discord seems to be inevitable.  When you are praying for someone…sincerely praying…it becomes very difficult to talk badly about them or to them.  Sincerely praying for another helps us to love them with the love of Christ.

Imitating Christ is another way to sow harmony instead of discord.  What better example than the One who gave Himself as a sacrifice for the world.

Forgiving helps us to sow harmony, as well.  We are asked to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave us.

It is God’s will that we not sow discord.  Just check Proverbs 6, if you need confirmation.  I pray today that we will not allow discord to be what we sow, but that we will intentionally seek to sow harmony.  If we notice the seeds of discord in our seeder, we can ask God to help us replace them with those of harmony and love.  He will faithfully offer His aid.

Loving you,

jamie

Lips dripping with knowledge

Pr. 5:2:  “That you may preserve discretion, and your lips may keep knowledge.”

Canning is a beautiful art.  You can take fruit, vegetables, meat, and herbs in the height of their freshness and preserve the taste and beauty they hold.  You can eat delicious tomatoes in the middle of winter that are almost as lovely as those that were harvested fully ripe.  Grapes can be plucked right off the vine and turned into delicious jelly you can use any time the craving arises.  Fresh fish can be canned and stored to feed a family all winter when fishing is an impossibility.

Is your mouth watering yet?  Mine is.

The catch is this:  you cannot just throw some tomatoes in a jar, put them on a shelf, and expect them to remain preserved.  Bacteria can quickly grow in a jar of unsealed food, leaving the food dangerous and deadly.  Canning is a labor-intensive process that requires preparation, diligence, knowledge, and commitment.

So, it is with discretion.  We cannot just expect to preserve that within ourselves when surrounded by indiscretions.  We must diligently and knowledgeably commit ourselves to guarding discretion in our lives.  We cannot neglect the seeds of indiscretion that try to multiply in our lives through temptations, tv and movies, media, books, music, etc.

That is not to say that we cannot enjoy our lives, but keeping knowledge on our lips requires alertness and carefulness.  Sometimes it can be laborious.  Sometimes we may feel like we’re missing out on something.  It is a labor; however, that is worth the trouble.

If we want juicy fruits of the Spirit to drip from our lips, if we want to be filled with the tastes of wisdom and knowledge, if we want to enjoy fruit during the “off-season,” we must plan and pay attention to preserving those things.  We must continue to check that our seals are not allowing bacteria to seep in and grow.

Enjoy the fruits,

jamie

What’s on your tongue?

Pr. 31:26:  “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”

Being around children all day, I am acutely aware that kindness on the tongue is not something that happens by accident.  We are born pretty selfish, self-serving, and self-absorbed.  Tenderness, affection, and courtesy are attributes that take time and training to develop.

That training should not end when we are grown.  As adults, we must make sure that we are still training ourselves to be kind.  It is something that can still be lost if not nurtured.  Where can we find kindness in this world?  I’m glad you asked.  The Word of God teaches us in Eph. 4:32, “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Eph. 5:2 tells us to, “walk in love.”  Ph. 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”  Col. 3:12-13 urges us, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering:  bearing with one another, and forgiving one another…”

I could go on and on.  There are numerous verses about kindness, affection, forgiveness, and bearing with one another.  Why so many?  We were born selfish.  Just as when we were kids, we need constant reminders.  If we are to have the law of kindness on our tongues, men and women alike, we must be sensitive to the rebukes and reminders we find from the Lord.

Also, when we are walking in the Spirit, it is evident by the fruit He produces within us:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  With God at the helm of our lives, this fruit will naturally be brought forth in our lives.

Wisdom and kindness come from the Lord.  If we are tarrying in His presence, studying and absorbing His Word, asking for His guidance throughout our days, and listening for His still-small voice to speak His wisdom, then we will be full of Him and walking in the Spirit.  This is when we will be one who opens their mouth with wisdom, and has the law of kindness on their tongue.

If you want to be someone like that, stick with God.  If He can bring forth water from a rock to refresh thousands, He can certainly help us speak kind words to refresh those around us.  🙂

Blessings,

jamie