The Fruit of the Spirit – Part 3

18 Aug

Galations 5

The 3rd mentioned fruit of the Spirit is Joy. Joy is not happiness. It is a state of being. Jesus, being God, had all the fruit of the Spirit, all the time, which means that he had joy, but John 11 tells us the Jesus wept. If Joy was simply a state of happiness then it would not be likely that Jesus could be happy and sad at the same time. Joy exists outside of emotion.

You can’t have joy without love, which is why love comes first. Joy is the bubbly, effervescent, over flowing expression of Love. Joy is the knowledge that even though there are storms all around us and the waves are trying to knock us about, we are standing on the rock of salvation in Jesus.

Joy is the overwhelming knowledge that even though we have stuffed up in our lives many times, and are likely to keep on stuffing up, God holds us in the palm of his hand, he loves us, and he will not let us go.

Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that the Joy of the Lord is our strength. We can have strength and joy also because God delights in us.

James 1:2 tells us to count it as Joy when we face trials. Why? Because Joy is not happiness and because trials strengthen us and draw us closer to God. We count it all joy because we know God is with us and when we battle the trials with him in our corner we will not only come out as better people but we will be that much closer to Creator and Father God.

Where love might be viewed as a fresh and sweet strawberry, joy is more like an olive; it has a tough skin, it is a little tart, but when pressed it over flows with amazing oil.

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The Fruit of the Spirit part 2: Love

12 Aug

Galations 5

The first of the fruit mentioned in the above verse is love. This is important because love always comes first. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. Later in the same verse it tells us that love doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. Love NEVER Fails. The truly special thing about this is that God is love (1 John 4:8). So when we work toward having this fruit what we are really working toward truly being one with God. It is about allowing God to have the power over us and us surrendering everything to Him. When we grow the fruit of love in our lives we are becoming less of the sinful person and more of the Holy person made in the image of God the creator and Jesus His son.

This is not something we are going to perfect overnight. It is going to take us a lifetime to truly display Godly love in all things. It is something to aspire to, cultivate in our lives and diligently seek, all the days of our life.

It is a never ending, ever growing, beautiful cycle. The more we love, the godlier we become. The godlier we become, the more we are able to love.

Love is truly amazing and special.

The Fruit of the Spirit – Part 1

5 Aug

Galations 5

I feel led to talk about the fruit of the Spirit over the next few months. It is something we have all likely heard of but not something that always seems that achievable and realistic. In all honesty, no one can produce all the fruit, or really any of the fruit without a close relationship with God. It is not “the fruit or Tash”, or “the fruit of Mary”. It is the fruit of THE Spirit.

When someone takes a seed and plants it in the ground they do not produce fruit the very next day. In some cases, depending on the sort of seed you planted, it can take well over a decade to get fruit. We also don’t plant that seed and then just sit around, do nothing, and expect a mammoth crop. We must tend it. We must make sure there are not weeds choking the seed out. We must protect against insects eating the tender shoots. We must make sure that the soil is healthy by adding fertilizer or nutrient sprays. We also need to make sure the seed gets plenty of sun, but not too much, and plenty of water, but not too much.

The same thing is true about nurturing the fruit of the Spirit. The Spirit itself is hardy but we are weak and need work. We need to make sure we nurture our lives, so we are ready for the Spirit to grow in us and produce good fruit. To do this we need to take out the weeds in our life such as unhelpful thoughts, and unhelpful activities, for example watching the wrong things and listening to the wrong things. We must protect against the bugs of unhelpful company so be careful who we hang around with. We must make the soil healthy by coating it with generous amounts of time in the bible, surrounding ourselves with Godly influences, and being apart of Godly fellowship though church and home groups. We also need to have plenty of Son and Water by talking with God the father, God the son, and God the Spirit, soaking in their presence. Unlike the seed of a fruit tree, we cannot have too much Son and Water.

As we tend this seed, fruit will come. Some fruit will come more quickly than others and some fruit will seem more natural. This tree will take a lifetime to fully mature and there will be seasons when the fruit might be a little bitter or stunted but the more we tend it, the better and sweeter it will be.

Everything comes down to prayer

29 Jul

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“Praying is exhaling the spirit of man and inhaling the Spirit of God.” – Edwin Keith.

“Prayer is the test of everything…. Prayer is the driving force of everything…. If prayer is right, everything is right.” – St Theophan the recluse.

“It is a great delusion to think that the times of prayer ought to differ from the other times.” – Brother Lawrence.

“If we choose to pray and if we pray powerfully, more blessing will come and God’s kingdom will be manifested here on earth in a more glorious way than if we choose not to.” – C. Peter Wagner

“When the creator gives his creature the power of thirst, it is because water exists to meet it’s thirst. When He creates hunger, there is food to correspond to the appetite…. When He inclines men to pray, it is because prayer has the corresponding blessing connected with it.” – Charles Spurgeon.

 

Everything comes down to prayer. We don’t pray because we have to. We pray because we have a longing to connect with the creator of the universe. When we pray things happen.  Something shifts when a person humbles themselves, stops, takes a breath, and exalts Abba, father. Prayer is the most essential part of being a follower of Christ. One cannot even become a follower without prayer because the bible tells us we must “Confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord.” That is prayer.

Prayer is not complicated. It doesn’t have to be eloquent. It doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t even need to include words. Prayer is simply communicating with God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit and allowing them to speak into our lives. Prayer is our soul connecting with the very heart of God.

You can read the bible 100 times and gain nothing if you are not connected to the author and perfector of your faith. You can go to church 3 times a week and will also gain nothing, no matter how good and stirring the speaker is, if you do not have an openness to let God speak to you through that word.

I challenge you today to amp up your prayer life. Take the first minute and last minute of your day to just reflect on all God is, and all he has done. Start off with just praising him. Don’t make it a wish list for the omnipotent ‘Santa’, make is a declaration of all you know God to be and thank him for that. You will find that the more you do this, the easier it gets and the better your attitude will be. If we are going to “Wherever, whenever be like Jesus” then it is time we get to know him intimately, and the best way to do that is through conversation with the man himself; speaking to him but also allowing him to speak to you.

Counting Chickens

22 Jul

I love God’s economy. Where earthly math will generally tell you that 1 + 1 = 2, God math may say it equals 17. Or a more relatable (and algebraic) calculation is 5 loaves + 2 fish = enough to feed 5000 men, not counting women and children, with 12 baskets left over. That is clever math.

An old saying is “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” This is good and wise advice when it comes to things like frivolously spending money that you have not yet earned. Have you ever noticed though that Jesus counted those chickens? He didn’t go out and waste money but he thanked God for the provision of food on the mount, even though it seemed that in the physical there was not enough for 1 person, let alone a large crowd. Jesus told the people with leprosy to wash and then present themselves to the priests. He did not see their healing in the physical but believed in the spiritual that they were healed so therefore were clean enough to come before the priests. Jesus told the disciples to go and secure the upper room for Passover even though he had never been there, had not made previous arrangements, and probably wasn’t carrying enough money to pay the rent on such a place. He counted his chickens way before they hatched. He often even told them when and where to hatch and how many chickens were to be in each egg. This wasn’t foolhardy and frivolous. This was faith.

Jesus tells us to have that same faith. We are to speak things into being. We are to believe that they are done.

Does God will for anyone to be sick and hurting? If not then how come we say “If you will it”? God is love. He wills for people to be full and whole in him. We need to speak in faith. Instead of saying “God please heal this person” we need to be saying “Thank you God for healing this person for you have promised that by your stripes we are healed!” Instead of saying “God please provide to this financial breakthrough.” We need to be praying “God thank you for this financial breakthrough for your word says that you own the cattle on a thousand hills and that you care for the birds and we are more important than them!”

Let’s be a people who count our Godly chickens. Let’s believe for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done. Let’s believe that spiritual break-through, physical break-through, mental break-through, financial break-through are in the power, and will of God and instead of begging God for them. Let’s boldly step out, in humble faith, and speak to those dry bones, believing for life, and wholeness, and fullness of Joy!

Not meant for scraps

15 Jul

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I love the story of the lost son found in Luke 15. It speaks to me because at one time we were all lost, and whilst on our journey home our Father in heaven ran after us, He actively pursued us.

What struck me this time, whilst Pastor Dom Bird was preaching on this at the morning gatherings, is the above verse about the son wanting to eat the pods from the pigs but getting none. In this day and age, in this country, more often than not pigs live of slop; the scraps that no one wanted. Pigs are living, breathing garbage disposals. God doesn’t want us to live off the scraps. We are made for more than that. We are made to indulge in the King’s feast where all the most delectable things can be found in abundance.

Sometimes it is hard to not think on where we came from and not lower ourselves back to that. Sometimes we are happy with a second-hand faith and second hand miracles because at least it is something. God wants to give us things that are brand new. He wants to adorn us with garments of great value. Don’t be happy with the second hand, always seek His very best, always expect His very best. We don’t see Prince William walking around in rags. He is an Heir to the throne and carries that with him as a mantle. We too are heirs to the throne and have the right to walk in God’s glory, whilst remaining humble in all things.

Who are you?

1 Jul

You are…

A Daughter of the King (Galatians 3:26)

God-fearing (Proverbs 31:30)

Steadfast in the love of Christ (Romans 8:31-38)

Redeemed (Ephesians 1:7)

Loved (Isaiah 43:3)

Beautiful (Psalm 139:13-16)

More Precious than Rubies (Proverbs 31:10)

More than make-up and clothes (1 Peter 3:3-4)

Free (John 8:36)

Worth it (Romans 5:6-8)

Victorious (Philippians 4:13)

Joyful (John 15:11)

Transformed (Romans 12:2)

Dignified (Proverbs 22:11)

Favoured (Proverbs 8:35)

Never let anyone tell you that you are less than, not enough, and not worth it. You are a child of the most high king, a royal priesthood is on your shoulders and you are clothed with righteousness.