Tag Archives: fruit of the spirit

Timing Is Important

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Timing Is Important

A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to harvest. Eccl. 3:2

Hello, and welcome back! I’m glad you can join us again. If this is your first time reading our blog check out the previous posts in this study of Ecclesiastes. I also encourage you to check out some of the posts my co-writers have shared too!

As we will learn in these next 7 verses, timing is important, timing is everything. We were born in a specific time period, in a specific year, at a specific time of day, to a specific set of parents, and in a specific family. We leave this world in the same way. Each season of our lives, between birth and death, have appointed lengths of time. Some of those seasons will be short, some of them can seem like they go on for an eternity.

In verses 1-8, King Solomon explains that every experience we have on this Earth has its proper time and place.  Here in verse 2, he gives us the examples of birth and death, planting and harvesting. Birth and death are two things we experience that are pretty self explanatory. Everyone is born and everyone will die. For this blog post we are going to focus on planting and harvesting.

Most all of us have heard the phrase…you reap what you sow… but a lot of people don’t realize it is a biblical truth. Scripture is full of writings about reaping the consequences of our actions. (Galatians 6:7, 2 Corinthians 9:6, Proverbs 11:8) Something I have always told my children is that every choice we make has a consequence…sometimes they are bad and other times they are good, but one way to make sure they are good is to be obedient to God.

Part of parenting is sowing seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. This is how we should “train a child up in the way he should go and he will never depart from it”. Sowing these kinds of seeds, from the fruits of the Holy Spirit, will produce good results. Even if our children wander for a period of time, usually they will find their way back to the path God has for them.

If we sow seeds of our sinful nature into our children… sexual impurity, idolatry, sorcery, lust, envy, jealousy, greed, hostility, drunkenness, anger, selfish ambition, dissension, and division…the characteristics that are the outcome are quite the opposite. We end up creating people who can’t function well in society because all that was poured into them as they were growing and developing…were nothing more than bad seeds.

So I ask you to think about your children. Do your children have characteristics that you don’t particularly like? If so, I want you to search your own heart and actions and ask yourself, are these characteristics things that I display and they have learned from me?

I can say for myself that is the case, and since becoming a follower of Jesus Christ I have been working on how to correct my mistakes. To sow better seeds not only into my children, but in all my relationships. I have learned the hard way it is better to do it right with God’s help the first time, than to try to fix what didn’t need to be broken in the first place.

What you plant in the lives of other people matters. It makes all the difference in what kind of harvest you reap.

God loves you and so do I,

Leslie

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The Gift of Gab

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The Gift of Gab

I have been known to have people say to me that I have the gift of gab. So much so that I was cleaning out things in my attic last week (the clutter we have accumulated has been driving me nuts) and I ran across a box that has been stored for 6 years and never gone through. I opened it and came across my baby book. My mother passed away from cancer when I was 16 and now that our daughter is expecting her first child (our first grandchild) in September, I took it out to reminiscence.

My eyes immediately started to swell with tears as I saw my mother’s handwriting. As I thumbed through the pages for each year it became obvious to me that I have always been and always will be a talker with mad social skills! Page after page, toddler to preschooler, kindergarten to third grader, I was a social butterfly. My mom wrote on each of those years her observations about my gift of gab and she even wrote my teachers comments. Some good, some not so good.

Ever since I can remember my mouth has gotten me into trouble. God has taught me to live in the fruits of my spirit. When it involves talking, I still struggle to always speak in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and to  have self-control while doing it. I have come a long way and there are very rare occasions when I truly struggle with it. Usually it happens when I am witness to someone being mean and hateful to someone else. This is usually when it got me in trouble as a kid too. I always want to jump in, defend, point out the behavior, and right the wrong. In my heart, I have good intentions but God has taught me there is a better way to do it.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, the Apostle Paul tells the church that “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not only the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear to us,”

Paul was a preachy person, before he was converted he yelled screamed, lashed out in anger, spoke down to people, even committed murder. But when God took hold of his life he was changed. His mindset was different. From this passage we know that God changed Paul’s heart and he not only preached the good news but he lived it out. He knew for him to be effective for reaching the lost and growing believers in their faith he had to follow Jesus’ example and model true piety in his own life. Did he still get mad and frustrated? Yes! Just read any of the Epistle texts and you can find evidence. But the difference was he shared himself with the people, he shared his very soul, and he did so walking in the fruits of his spirit.

On our Via de Cristo weekends we have a saying that I model my evangelism by, “make a friend, be a friend, and bring your friend to Christ”. It is the way I feel that Jesus did it, Paul did it, and I do it. I love people. God has given me that gift. I love to talk. God has given me that gift as well. And God reminds me all the time to always speak the truth whether others will like what I have to say, but to always do it in love. Reading Paul’s letters has taught me its OK to get mad and frustrated, it is OK for me to have feelings of anger, after all I am human. But the lessons God has taught me remind me to put that passion to work for the glory of Him and Him alone.

God Loves You And So Do I

Leslie

 

 

 

 

 

Pruning

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

Well, it’s past time I chimed in and put my thoughts in on this month’s theme.  I try to help out as much as I can, but with everything going on…  it’s just hard.

So my question would be this:  How many of you felt or had the fruit of the spirit during the Christmas Holiday?  How many of you felt that, perhaps, you failed?  Join the club.

Just a little farming information:  Did you know that fruit trees need to be pruned yearly?  Let me take some pruning advice from The Modern Farmer:  “Within a few years of lovingly planting fruit trees, most folks find themselves with scraggly overgrown bushes, rather than the Garden of Eden they had envisioned. The key to keeping fruit trees attractive and productive is annual pruning.”

So, if the Lord wants fruit out of us, He has to prune.  Ouch!!  We don’t just sprout out of the ground and have all the Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control down pat.  No.  We don’t grow all that stuff, we’re human.  However, the Lord will prune, and prune, and prune.  Go to the link above and see what pruning is all about.  If I think about it in a spiritual sense then I hurt all over.

Under the “Clean-Up” heading it talks about clipping off all the dead limbs and the “suckers” at the bottom of the tree and the “watersprouts” that grow straight up beside the main trunk.  Then it says “With all these clean-up cuts, it’s important to prune the branches back flush to the larger limb they’re growing from — don’t leave little stubs.”  Back to the larger branch.  No stubs for us!!

Then there is the “Thinning” and I don’t mean of the physical body!!  (Don’t we all wish???) Anyway, back to the Modern Farmer: “The goal of thinning is to allow light and air into the canopy, which boosts fruit production and reduces problems with pests and disease.”  OK!!  Light and air.  Love that, letting the Lord with his Light shine more into my life!!  But it’s got to hurt while those snippers are going to it…..

OK, step three just freaks me out.  That’s the “Haircut” as they call it on the website.  Just snipping away with clippers all over.  Here is their reason: “The idea is to prune back the outermost growth of the tree so the branches become shorter and thicker as they grow, rather than long and gangly. This keeps them from snapping under the weight of the fruit, but pomologists (fruit scientists) will tell you that it also causes the tree’s hormones to activate growth lower in the canopy, making for smaller, more fruitful trees.”  Yup, just to make us stronger.

I’ve always thought of hardships in my life as being pruned.  You have to submit, you have to walk through it to reap the benefits later.  I’ve walked through a lot in my life, an alcoholic father, my mother getting sick and turning into a vegetable, a husband with COPD and brain cancer.  I’ve walked through it.  The Lord never left me, although I was really mad about my mom.  I still have things (or issues) I have to walk through and trust the Lord to help me deal with them.  Life isn’t easy.  The Lord never said it would be.  I’ll close with one of my favorite bible verses:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Famous Christmas Carols – Story Behind the Carol – “O Come All Ye Faithful”

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Another story behind the story of a carol mentioning the fruit of faith and joy.

Jlue's Weblog

“O Come All Ye Faithful”was written by John Francis Wade. Wade was said to have written the song in 1743 and to have based the song on the Bible passage Luke 2:15-16. It was first known as “Adeste Fideles.”

Verses 1-3 and verse 6 were translated from Latin to English by Frederick Oakeley in 1841 while verses 4 and 5 were translated by William Thomas Brooke (1848-1917).

While there has been some controversy surrounding the authorship of the song, the beauty of the melody, along with the worshipful and meaningful words have blessed many over the years.

“O Come All Ye Faithful”

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;

Refrain

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the…

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The Joy of Heaven – Martin Luther

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A Luther quote that seems appropriate to the season and our theme!

Christmas Quotes

Good news from heaven the angels
bring,
Glad tidings to the earth they sing:
To us this day a child is given,
To crown us with the joy of heaven.
– Martin Luther

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Fruitful Gifts

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“Love is patient and kind;  love does not envy or boast;  it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on it’s own way;  it is not irritable or resentful;   it does not rejoice at wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

You’ve probably heard these verses many times before.  1 Corinthians is known as the “love chapter” (my Bible titles it The Way of Love) and it is often read at weddings.  However, placed in its context, Paul is speaking these words to the Christian community and it follows a description of spiritual gifts.

It is certainly good advice about how to behave towards our spouse, but it is much more than that.  These verses tell us how we should behave as part of the church.  Love is the “greatest” gift and the one that will remain when all our works have ceased. Love is not just what we do, it is who we are.  Notice that love also encompasses the fruit of the spirit:  patience, kindness, self-control, joy.

Paul goes on to tell the Corinthians at the end of chapter 13 and in chapter 14 that love is an indication of spiritual maturity.  He advises us to put away childish things (13:11) and be mature in our thinking (14: 20).

So “pursue love” (14:1) and “strive to excel in building up the church.”(14:12).  The fruit of the spirit will follow and will be a blessing to you and to others.

God loves you and so do I!

Increasing the Fruit

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“…make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  2 Peter 1:5-8

No farmer is satisfied with a poor harvest.  He works to increase the yield and quality of his crops.  As Christians, we should also want to grow in our faith and understanding of Jesus Christ.  The verses above tell us how.

To grow in Christ, we need to “supplement” our faith by practicing Christian virtues:  the fruit of the spirit.  This requires discipline, or self-control.  I mentioned in a previous post that our default position is sin which leads to the “bad” fruits–anger, jealousy, dissensions, lust, etc..  I find in my own life, these kinds of emotions rear their heads quickly, especially when I feel criticized, humiliated, irritated or ignored.  It takes a little holding back to avoid giving in to them.  However, the effort is worthwhile.  When I yield to sin by becoming angry, confrontational or self righteous, a bad situation escalates and becomes even more sinful.  On the other hand, pressing the “reset” button and remembering to be kind, gentle, loving,  and patient defuses the problem and leads to peace and joy.

I read a story once about an Indian grandfather.  His grandson said to him, “Grandfather, there are two wolves fighting inside of me;  one is cruel, angry and destructive.  The other is peaceful, kind and loving. Which wolf will win?”  The grandfather answered, “The one that you feed.”

Feed the gift of faith that God placed within you;  let the fruit of the spirit become your habit.

 

 

Good and Bad Fruit

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” You will recognize them by their fruits.  Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?  So every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.  A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.” Matthew 7:16-18

In the second Chapter of Acts, we learn about the coming of the Holy Spirit to the believers.  In Galatians, Chapter 5, we find a list of the fruit that flows out of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  There is another list, the list of “bad fruit.”

“Now the works of the flesh are evident:  sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these…”Galatians 5:21

The fruit of the flesh comes naturally to us;  when sin entered the world, it became our default position.  The fruit of the spirit comes from being rooted in God, and is part of being born again and transformed as Christians.  As we become more like Christ (sanctification) the good fruit will be evident in our lives.

Which kind of fruit is growing in your life?  Are you walking the walk, or just talking the talk?  Remember, the world will know what Christianity means by the fruit you display in your daily life.

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit…”  Galatians 5:29

 

The Peace of Christmas

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If I had to choose a song that exemplifies the peace we all want to feel in our hearts at Christmas, it would be Silent Night.  Here is the story of how it came to be composed and popularized, in case you have never heard it.

The reason “Silent Night” was created: How the world’s most famous Christmas carol came to be written and set to music

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night” — Luke 2:8

In 1818, a roving band of actors was performing in towns throughout the Austrian Alps. On December 23 they arrived at Oberndorf, a village near Salzburg where they were to re-enact the story of Christ’s birth in the small Church of St. Nicholas.
Unfortunately, the St. Nicholas’ church organ wasn’t working and would not be repaired before Christmas. (Note: some versions of the story point to mice as the problem; others say rust was the culprit) Because the church organ was out of commission, the actors presented their Christmas drama in a private home. That Christmas presentation of the events in the first chapters of Matthew and Luke put assistant pastor Josef Mohr in a meditative mood. Instead of walking straight to his house that night, Mohr took a longer way home. The longer path took him up over a hill overlooking the village.
From that hilltop, Mohr looked down on the peaceful snow-covered village. Reveling in majestic silence of the wintry night, Mohr gazed down at the glowing Christmas-card like scene. His thoughts about the Christmas play he had just seen made him remember a poem he had written a couple of years before. That poem was about the night when angels announced the birth of the long-awaited Messiah to shepherds on a hillside.
Mohr decided those words might make a good carol for his congregation the following evening at their Christmas eve service. The one problem was that he didn’t have any music to which that poem could be sung. So, the next day Mohr went to see the church organist, Franz Xaver Gruber. Gruber only had a few hours to come up with a melody which could be sung with a guitar. However, by that evening, Gruber had managed to compose a musical setting for the poem. It no longer mattered to Mohr and Gruber that their church organ was inoperable. They now had a Christmas carol that could be sung without that organ.
On Christmas Eve, the little Oberndorf congregation heard Gruber and Mohr sing their new composition to the accompaniment of Gruber’s guitar.
Weeks later, well-known organ builder Karl Mauracher arrived in Oberndorf to fix the organ in St. Nicholas church. When Mauracher finished, he stepped back to let Gruber test the instrument. When Gruber sat down, his fingers began playing the simple melody he had written for Mohr’s Christmas poem. Deeply impressed, Mauracher took copies of the music and words of “Silent Night” back to his own Alpine village, Kapfing. There, two well-known families of singers — the Rainers and the Strassers — heard it. Captivated by “Silent Night,” both groups put the new song into their Christmas season repertoire.

Silent night! holy night!
All is calm, all is bright,
‘Round yon virgin mother and Child!
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

     The Strasser sisters spread the carol across northern Europe. In 1834, they performed “Silent Night” for King Frederick William IV of Prussia, and he then ordered his cathedral choir to sing it every Christmas eve.
Twenty years after “Silent Night” was written, the Rainers brought the song to the United States, singing it (in German) at the Alexander Hamilton Monument located outside New York City’s Trinity Church.
In 1863, nearly fifty years after being first sung in German, “Silent Night” was translated into English (by either Jane Campbell or John Young). Eight years later, that English version made its way into print in Charles Hutchins’ Sunday School Hymnal. Today the words of “Silent Night” are sung in more than 300 different languages around the world.

 

Mmm . . . Fruit.

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“The most dangerous sin of all is the presumption of righteousness.” – Martin Luther

I can’t pretend to know Mr. Martin Luther’s reasoning behind anything he said. Especially since it was nearly 500 years ago that he said anything at all. However, I can try my hand at interpreting his words. And I have the very American right to have an opinion about the words he spoke. So here goes, Martin Luther thought that the most dangerous sin of all was the presumption of righteousness. Why?

First of all I’m of the belief that no one should presume anything about anything. Unless a person has hard evidence in front of them, nothing is certain. That’s exactly how rumors start. Humans tend to assume to much. We go to school starting out very innocent and sponge-like. Yearning for knowledge almost as much as we want for food. But somewhere along the way (For some the time comes sooner than others.) we become what’s known as a know-it-all. We assume we know all there is to know. Or, at least all we think we need to know. And then our sponge-like brains and spirits become more like rocks. Stubborn and hard. Sometimes being like a rock is good, don’t get me wrong. We should not be so naive as to be easily swayed. Particularly when morals are involved. The mistake is believing we are infallible. That we have nothing to to learn, and that we need no mercy, no grace.

That last bit sounds scary to me. I don’t ever want to think that grace is too good for me. Which brings me to my second point. Righteousness is something given to us by the Holy Spirit. A great and wonderful gift from God, paid for by the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. May I never assume that I am responsible for my own righteousness. Because it’s simply unattainable without my savior Jesus Christ. Am I righteous? Yes. Because God says I am through adoption. Do I personally have anything to do with that? No.

Now while I do indeed have fruit of the Spirit; it’s more like the fruit of His Spirit, not mine. I can do all things through Christ, not I can do all things through the power of my own sheer will. I’m just going to try and stay out of the way via obedience to God’s will. That is what will produce the very best fruit in my opinion.