Got my grace. Which way now?

It’s time to conclude yesterday’s story about the freedom & grace Jesus Christ gave us through His death.  His death fulfilled the law and removed the bondage of sin.  He won the victory for us!  However, Paul warns that we shouldn’t use the freedom we’ve been given as an opportunity to live in the flesh…in other words, we can’t just live any ol’ way we want.  We aren’t called to serve our flesh, but to walk in the Spirit.

It is when we are led by the Spirit of the Lord that we are no longer under the law because the Spirit proves it through us.  When we are led only by the flesh, we want things that are in direct opposition to the Spirit.  Here are some examples that Paul gives of things that the flesh wants:  adultery, impatience, drunkenness, fornication, envy, prostitution, idolatry, hatred, jealousy, selfish ambitions, anger, and others.  Can we be forgiven of these things?  Absolutely!  But if we simply live a lifestyle of these things then we are not being led by the Spirit, because these things are in opposition to His desires.

When we are led by the Spirit, it shows up in our lives in ways like this: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  We will bear one another’s burdens, not bite and devour one another with our words and actions, and we will love our neighbor as ourselves.

Paul said if we sow to the flesh we will reap corruption, but if we sow to the Spirit we will reap everlasting life.  In other words, after we have accepted the grace of God, it isn’t about the customs and traditions that we perform; but if we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, the evidence will come through in our lives in ways like kindness, goodness, love, self-control, etc. Every day we will have a choice to make, “Will I walk by the flesh, or by the Spirit?”  One will corrupt us, and one will point us and those around us to the Father.

I, for one, want to be led by the Spirit.  Those times when I’ve been led by my flesh have never turned out so well, and I’ve lost many an opportunity to be a witness for the Lord.  It’s time to let Him be in control.  Not only will we be able to show more love and be able to witness more, but it will take the pressure off of us, as well.  Let Him take control and lead the way.  We already know where it leads.  🙂

walking there alongside you,

jamie

A good name

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.” Pr. 22:1

Yesterday was my son’s 8th birthday.  He did have a good day and by the end of the day, declared it “the best birthday ever!”  That’s a win!

He liked his presents, but more than all of that, he enjoyed the closeness we shared as I read him our traditional birthday book.  He hugged me over and over as we looked at his baby pictures and I answered his questions about when he was born.

It thrilled his heart that his sister worked really hard and enthusiastically to make him a special birthday cake just the way he wanted.  His heart was overjoyed when we surprised him by having his old friend show up at our celebration last night.

He appreciated the work we did on his decorations.  He enjoyed having his grandfather, uncle, family, and some friends there to celebrate with him.  He was just happy to be loved and favored.

He was grateful and thankful for all we did and gave, and he expressed his thanks to all.  Everyone was happy to celebrate with him because he is a such a great guy.  He is kind, generous, loving, sharing, encouraging, fun, and is a joy to be around.  In other words, he has a good name.

And that is what I want for him most of all.  As much as he was grateful for the “riches” he received, he was much more nourished and made to feel complete by the favor shown to him.  As much as I enjoyed giving him things, I feel much more proud of the fact that people enjoy being around him and that he is a kind person.

My prayer is that he continue on this path all his days and that he grow to truly know for a fact what ‘things’ are most important to be chosen in this life.

It’s a reminder we can all use from time to time.  Riches and things can be helpful, pretty, and can make us smile temporarily, but can all be taken away or destroyed.  At the end of the day, what really matters are those who love and care for us.  How we make others feel is what they remember about us.  We have to make sure we are choosing to give ourselves a good name by our actions towards others.

Thanks for being a great illustration for this important verse, my amazing son!  We are so proud of you.

Mom, aka jamie

 

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