Tag Archives: fruit of the Spirit

Leviticus 19-20; Hebrews 7

I know people who are generous. I know people who are stingy. I know people who are encouraging. I know people who are deceptive. I know people who are patient. I know people who are easily ruffled. I think about traits that mark an impression and define a life and lifestyle.

How will my children remember me?

How will my words or actions influence a stranger?

Whether my life is lived in a big way or a small way, it will leave a mark that seems temporary, but one that has a potential to affect generations. (Lord, help me steward well what you’ve entrusted me.)

The Lord speaks of being set apart as holy in Leviticus.

So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep all my decrees by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord who makes you holy. (Leviticus 20:7-8, NLT)

I find comfort in these words as they point to Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. He is the Lord who makes me holy. He is at work within me, transforming me.

26 He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. 27 Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. (Hebrews 7:26-27, NLT)

I don’t expect my kids to master any topic in a first reading. Learning takes practice. I’m so grateful for a gracious God who will walk with me all the years of my life to guide and correct me and love me all the while–on my good days, on my bad days.

Lord God, thank you for your words in my hands, that I can turn to you for instruction and wisdom. Thank you for your great patience in my life, the hard tests and tasks that transform me. Thank you for relationship–that I can be close to you and know I am loved.

Courtney (66books365)

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Exodus 1-3; Galatians 5

We come to two juxtaposed passages of Scripture this morning. We have Moses not acting out of love or having a close relationship with God and then the Apostle Paul giving us the fruit of a loving relationship with the God of the universe. Paul writes:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:22-24 [ESV])

God has a plan that reaches across the ages and we don’t fully understand it all, but what if Moses instead of being a person who tried in his own strength to free God’s people was a person of love and peace? Perhaps the Jewish Nation would have been relieved of their suffering 40 years earlier.

The fruit of the Spirit that Paul lists are not something we strive for, but what we bear because of our loving relationship with the Father.

What kind of fruit are you producing? Is this fruit coming from a loving relationship with God? Just think of the things God can do through you and the people you can affect  through the overflow of your relationship with the Father.

What does your fruit look like this morning? How can you grow closer to God so that you can produce more of it in changing your life and those around you?

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Isaiah 10, 11, 12; Galatians 5

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.

Galatians 5:1, 13-14, 22-25

I really love delving deep into the Word, especially with passages that I have read over and over. I can easily read the Bible at its surface, which I admit I do a lot, but inevitably a word, a verse, a passage jumps out to me, as if it has been highlighted by God for me in that moment. When that happens, I have to know more, I have to understand the rhema truth hidden in the passage. I have to know why God is pointing it out.

Galatians is one of my favorite books in the Bible, and I have literally read it hundreds of times; sometimes it’s just a surface reading, but more often than not, I find myself doing word studies to gnaw more meat off the bone. Today a word that I have only casually studied before was shown in a new light to me.

This word is freedom. I’ve gone through life thinking I understood what freedom meant. I live in a ‘free’ country. I am a ‘free’ person; I am ‘free’ to be me. The simple definition I’ve always brought away from the word is that freedom is a state of liberty rather than being confined or restrained, like the difference between being in or out of jail. On a basic level, that is what it means, but I am learning that on a heart level it means so much more.

The other day while talking some things out with a friend, God gave me a picture of what freedom really is: FREEDOM=LOVE=FREEDOM=LOVE

FREEDOM=LOVE

In the moment, I took this to heart, but at its face value, intending on asking God for more. When I was able to take a moment to sit alone with Him, I felt lead to look up the etymology, the history of the English word, and as usual I was blow away by His goodness.

The English word ‘freedom’, with the base word being ‘free’ came from the Old English word that meant ‘to free or liberate,’ and also ‘to love, think of lovingly, honor’.

Paul shares that I have been called to freedom; I have been called to a place of complete liberation from slavery to the law. He reminds me that in freedom, I am called to serve others in love; and when I love others, the more freedom flourishes and produces fruit in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Freedom equals love.

Yesappa, Thank You for freedom, and thank You for love. Help me walk more and more in both. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Joshua 14, 15; Psalm 146, 147; Jeremiah 7; Matthew 21

The leafy fig tree. It highlights the power of faith–the strength to do much and more. But I still think about the tree’s leaves–an outward appearance of health, yet it was fruitless. Appearances deceive.

Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame. Jeremiah 7:19 NLT.

How many times had God’s people been warned and corrected? Only if, only if–“stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols.” Jeremiah 7:5-6 NLT.

In Jeremiah 7:8-11 NLT, there’s an assumption that just because the Temple was in their midst they’d be safe, despite their ongoing and intentional sin.

“‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 10 and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? 11 Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

In Matthew, Jesus clears out the Temple with similar words:

12 Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!” Matthew 21:12-13 NLT.

When the Lord’s Spirit is in me, this body of mine is a temple. I bear his name as a follower of Christ. A child of God. I don’t think God expects me to be perfect, but I do think he wants me to trust him. When I obey him, it shows that I trust him. I believe he does want good for me. Lord, I need to remember I can trust you! I really do want to obey you. Sometimes it’s easy, and sometimes it’s such a struggle. Help me.

22 When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them. 23 This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’

I read about Caleb in Joshua 14:6-9 NLT.

Caleb said to Joshua, “Remember what the Lord said to Moses, the man of God, about you and me when we were at Kadesh-barnea. I was forty years old when Moses, the servant of the Lord, sent me from Kadesh-barnea to explore the land of Canaan. I returned and gave an honest report, but my brothers who went with me frightened the people from entering the Promised Land. For my part, I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God. So that day Moses solemnly promised me, ‘The land of Canaan on which you were just walking will be your grant of land and that of your descendants forever, because you wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.’

God isn’t impressed by wealth or might or any outward appearances of success. I have to remind myself of this a lot–because these are the things that impress the world, not my Lord.

No, my God wants reverence and my hope in him.

10 He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse
    or in human might.
11 No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him,
    those who put their hope in his unfailing love. Psalm 147:10-11 NLT

Lord, when it comes to following you and obeying you, I don’t want to fake it. But I see that I’ve been faking it in my struggle to forgive. I can trust you. I don’t need to be angry and hold on to past wounds. You’ve got me.  You’ve got this. I can put my hope in you and let go of it. The past is vapor anyway. Even if it is as recent as June. I pray that I would follow you, wholeheartedly. Thank you for your continued work in shaping my heart.

Courtney (66books365)

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Deuteronomy 1; Psalms 81, 82; Isaiah 29; 3 John 1

The Lord says:

“These people worship me with their mouths,

and honor me with their lips,

but their hearts are far from me.

Their worship is based on

nothing but human rules.

So I will continue to amaze these people

by doing more and more miracles.

Their wise men will lose their wisdom;

their wise men will not be able to understand.” Isaiah 29:13-14 (NCV)

Their worship is based on nothing but human rules. (NCV)

They act like they’re worshiping me but don’t mean it. (MSG)

Their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote. (NLT)

Their fear and reverence for Me are a commandment of men that is learned by repetition [without any thought as to the meaning]. (AMP)

Their ‘fear of me’ is just a mitzvah – [a good deed performed out of religious duty] – of human origin. (CJB)

Their religion is nothing but human rules and traditions, which they have simply memorized. (GNT)

Their worship of Me consists of man-made traditions learned by rote; it is a meaningless sham. (VOICE)

I recently had a conversation with a friend of the family about faith. He told me that he hates religion. Being a nonbeliever, I think he was trying to bait me, hoping I would get offended by his comments, so he could prove that Christians (or at least me) are hypocrites.

My response: I hate religion too. (I think he was a little shocked, never expecting such words to come from the mouth of a missionary).

To make myself clear…I LOVE Jesus. Being in relationship with a Heavenly Father, a Holy Trinity who loves me with an everlasting love is life-altering. My faith in Him gives me the ability to have compassion for the people society has rejected deeming them unworthy with no more value than heaped trash. My belief in Him has allowed me to witness miraculous transformations and partake in the changing of lives, of destinies.

I decided at the beginning of my journey with God that it could never be about “Christianese” and being holier-than-thou. I want ‘real’ and ‘relevant’ instead of artificial rituals. I need the Word of God to come alive, not just be lifeless sentences in an ancient book. I desire a five senses, experiential knowledge of the Savior who gave His life for me. I crave relationship over religiosity, freedom opposed to a ball-and-chain.

If I am going to follow Jesus it has to be a full-on commitment rooted in Him, one where He is seamlessly integrated into my life from morning to night: When I sit. When I walk. When I push my daughters on swings or run to stop my oldest from running into the street. When I lie down. When I rise. When I am bleary eyed and exhausted. When I am washing dishes and folding mounds of laundry. When life is a cake walk. And, when it is a scary, chaotic mess.

My commitment to worship my King originates from my heart, from the created to the Creator. It is initiated by love and longing, not by unattainable rules created by fear, overcomplicated regulations created by man to foster guilt and condemnation.

And so, I choose to worship with adoration Father, who offers me an easy yoke and a light burden. I choose to worship with reverence Son, who beckons me to come and grants rest. I choose to worship with devotion Holy Spirit who gives helps me and produces the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in my life. (Matthew 11:28-30; John 14:16-17; Galatians 5:22-23).

Yesappa, help me to never turn to rules and regulations, to traditions instead of to You. Help my worship be true, and worthy of Your Glory. Help my heart stay close to Yours; write my name on Your palm and mark me with Your seal upon my forehead. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 3 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

1 Kings1; Galatians 5; Ezekiel 32; Psalm 80

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit,  and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.   They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”  Galatians 5:16-18

Some may wonder how will they know if they are living by the Spirit versus living by the law.  Living by the law or under the law is like following  rules, only not following them because they are the rules but because you might get caught not following the rules.  Take the speed limit for instance, does a person go the speed limit because they want to or because they have to.  Living by the Spirit is like going the speed limit because you want to, not because you have to.   When you are led by the Spirit you don’t feel the need for speed on the highway, you’re happy to cruise, taking in the sights, the sounds and feeling with wind in your face.  Those fruits of the Spirit, the peace, joy and self control are abundant when you are led by the Spirit.

Now turn that around and look through a different lens.  A person sees the speed limit and ignores it, choosing to speed down the road of life.   Then they see someone ahead of them going the posted speed, obeying the law because they want to, what do you think they feel?  Maybe jealous because that other person seems so peaceful.  Then comes hatred for those silly rule followers.  Do you think the speed racer person is filled with kindness?  how about patience?  goodness?  Yeah…no!  More like fits of rage and selfish ambition.  And you thought road rage was a new thing?   Oh and while  haul’n down the road of life, breaking all kinds of rules, just because they want to (that’s the sinful nature by the way) the only sights a person might take time to enjoy is something they shouldn’t be looking at.   Like that pretty car in the next lane, “humm…why can’t I have one like that”  they might begin to wonder.

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passion and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  Galatians 5: 24-25

So is it just a given that if we belong to Christ Jesus that we will be led by the Spirit?  Well my car has four wheels and is designed to take me where I need to go, but only if I start the engine, put gas in it and steer it in the direction I want go.  So maybe accepting Jesus as my savior starts my journey, but I have to put fuel in (the word) and I need a driver to lead me in the right direction, that would be the Spirit.  So maybe not so much a given as it is a decision to follow and a be submissive to be led, not because you have to, but because you want to.

Father God I praise you for providing a Savior for my sins, thank you for your word to nourish and enrich my life, and thank you for the Spirit that guides me through my life so that I can produce sweet abundant fruit for your glory. Amen.

Cindi

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1 Kings1; Galatians 5; Ezekiel 32; Psalm 80

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:1,16,22-23

A watch rests in my jewelry box. The pendant  belonged to my grandmother, who was born in 1887. The gold is tarnished. It doesn’t keep time. The chain is broken. Yet every so often I take it out and attempt to adorn myself with a useless relic from the past.

I think about how the yoke of sin still sparkles deceptively in my life. My old nature tries to put a strangle hold on me. I know wearing this collar of temptations can only lead to ugliness and discord.

This sin/repentance cycle repeats over and over. I pray. I transcend, rather than descend into the baser instincts. Each time I shun more quickly wrong actions. Covered in prayer I throw off everything that hinders my walk with Jesus.

To live in the Spirit is one of my greatest desires. I imagine myself wearing a new necklace fashioned by the Holy Spirit, that shines with happiness, peace, patience, love, kindness, gentleness, self-control and faithfulness.

One day I will be perfect. On that day I will be festooned in pure white garments of praise. I need no other adornment than to reflect my Savior’s love.

yicareggie

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