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Archive for May, 2013

As we wrap up our week looking at the fruit of patience, I pray you have learned that producing fruit is the work of the Holy Spirit.  Beth Moore says, “How we respond to circumstances is important, but how we respond to others is critical.” May we cooperate with Him and grow in our relationship with the Godhead so that we respond correctly to people and in our circumstances.

“I do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.”  Ephesians 1:16-19a

I have prayed this for every lady who read the blog this week.  God’s desire is to produce fruit in your life.  Remember to be patient with others, in your circumstances, and with yourself. After all, He’s still working on you.

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1 Timothy 1:16, “Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”  Paul places a real challenge on our lives in this verse and yet we can be confident that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is in us as believers and He will work His perfect patience in us.  As long as we draw breath here on earth, we will be given chances to grow, to show Christ in us to a world that is lost and dying.

I accepted Christ as my personal Savior at the age of 26, just a couple of weeks after hearing the Gospel for the first time.  Not long after this, the Lord moved us halfway across the country and placed a godly woman in my life to mentor and disciple me. I was and am forever blessed because of His provision.  Let me tell you, she needed a lot of patience!  I am so thankful for the Lord having someone ready to take me under wing that lived out the Fruit of the Spirit.  Are we ready to be that someone for another person?

Father, as we are out in the community, may the people we encounter be blessed and drawn to Christ because of the fruit You are producing in our lives.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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James 1:2-3, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”  Not all of our impatience is related to people; sometimes it is with things or circumstances.   In this verse, the patience or endurance is in relation to things or circumstances.

Sometimes this impatience arises from things not going right.  Or should I just be blatantly honest and say that things are not going my way?  Even as believers we fall into the trap of thinking things should be easy for us.  This verse is diametrically opposed to that way of thinking.  Trials are to test my faith and produce patience or endurance.

Remembering back to my school days, there were quizzes, tests, midterms, and finals.  Each of these are a little more intense than the previous one.  Our trials are that way. We are given various opportunities to see what we have learned and where we still need to learn and grow.  By the way, the final is when we are in the presence of Christ, complete, lacking in nothing.  If you know Christ as Savior, He has already aced the final for you.

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“Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.”  

Ecclesiastes 7:8b

The writer here is expressing that when I am impatient my pride is showing.  As I look at myself and evaluate the times I am impatient it is because I am thinking too highly of myself, my time, my priorities, etc….  Patience says that I have to get out of the way.  God will place situations in my life until I learn these lessons and then He will continue to place them in my life to make sure I don’t forget what I have learned.

We have all heard the saying, “practice makes perfect.”  God is faithful to provide me with the opportunities to practice so He can perfect the fruit of patience in my life.  Growing up in California where there are multitudes of orchards, it was common to see the trees being pruned each year.  When we are given opportunities to exude patience and succeed, these are the healthy limbs that are left to grow and bear even more and healthier fruit.  The times I fail are the limbs that are cut off and burned.

Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Patience will look out for the interest of others and put selfishness aside.

Father, I confess my struggle with pride and I humble myself under Your hand.  I surrender my life to You as a living sacrifice; have Your way in me.  Thank You for Your patience, Amen.

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I have heard it said that the English language is a hard language to learn because of some of the idiosyncrasies.  Homophones would fall into this arena, such as patience and patients.  I have been known to say if God had wanted me to have patience I would have been a doctor.  Well, truth be told, God does desire for me to have patience and He is wanting to produce that in my life by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Patience is defined as the capacity, habit, or fact of being patient.  Okay, so what is patient?  Patient is: 1) bearing pains or trails calmly or without complaint, 2) manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain, 3) not hasty or impetuous (marked by impulsive vehemence, marked by force and violence of movement or action), 4) steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity, 5) able or willing to bear.

The definition alone lets me know this is not something I can produce in my life. Maybe I can have a moment of success now and then, but not a life of consistency.  So where do you struggle most with impatience?  Is it with people or circumstance?  Rest assured that God is not expecting you to do this in your life; He will produce the fruit as we mature in Him.  Philippians 1:6 tells us, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Father, only You can produce consistent patience in my life.  Please help me to cooperate with the plans You have, so that the healthy fruit of patience is being produced in my life.  Amen.

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This week we will be looking at the fruit of patience.  Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”  I am so thankful that we are studying the Fruit of the Spirit and that He is the One wanting to develop these fruits in us.  If I were left on my own to produce these fruits, they would be stunted, wormy, and not very palatable.

Hazel Offner states, “God’s highest purpose for us as Christians is to make us like Jesus (Romans 8:29).  As we fulfill this purpose by getting to know our Lord better and by obeying Him, we will exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit whether we are aware of it or not.  In these days when our world is too fragmented and confused and when sin is so flagrant, just one person who exhibits this fruit of God’s Spirit can make a difference.  Nothing attracts unbelievers and believers alike to God as much as seeing a life lived out in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

I pray you will bear with me this week as we seek to learn what God has for us as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to bring forth healthy fruit in our lives.

Father, I pray each of us will desire to see Your fruit produced in our lives so that You are honored and glorified.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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I have, in this week, shared my thoughts on the what, where, why, when, and how of peace. But, there is another aspect of peace I would like to touch on. In my quest for the important aspects of peace, it has been revealed to me that our peace should be guarded, for it is precious and endangerment is possible at any given moment. Peace is a gift, as I stated earlier this week. It is a spiritual gift given by the Holy Spirit. It is sacred. It is to be protected at all times.

As God has given us humans the emotions we deal with and endure everyday, He also, through His Word, teaches us how to deal with them. Our negative emotions can cause us to use our tongues in ways He does not approve of. For only negative outcomes and hurtfulness come from negative uses of our tongue. He warns us to be careful:

“Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” ~ I Peter 3:10-11, ESV

“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” ~ James 1:26, ESV

Biblical peace is a gift, and yet, if we are not careful, if we do not protect it with all of our hearts, in an instant it can turn into turmoil. I have asked God to enable me to recognize in the moment when peace, both internal, within my inner being, and external, within the outer circle around me, is challenged or threatened; to give me a powerful faith in those moments; to recognize He alone is in control; to help me step back…let go…and let HIM protect, let Him restore, let His shield guard my heart, my mind, my tongue, my spirit, and my peace.  I have asked my wonderful Father in heaven to bring peace in the circumstances which I have no control over and to guard it from all evil. Won’t you do the same?

I am so honored to serve a God who is faithful to my prayers and wants the absolute best for me, including complete and utter peace. For it is His Son, Jesus, who gave His peace to us. It was something personal. It was from Him. It was precious, and it meant so much. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27, ESV).

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