Fruit of the Spirit: Peace

Have you ever felt like your life is a roller coaster? There are many ups and downs and all arounds. Are there times that you can’t be still because the world around you is rushing by? I know that feeling quite well. Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in a day to get everything done. Other times I find myself wandering with no sense of direction in my life. However, whatever it is I’m going through, I crave peace.

“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11)
Each one and every one of us is blessed with peace. It’s a free gift, my friends. I think we all love gifts that are free. The Lord has given us peace in everything we do. We just have to find it. By finding it, I mean putting trust in God. If we call out to the Lord in times of struggle, He will receive us with open arms. He can take the heavy burden off of you and fill you with peace.
Imagine that you and your buddies are out on a boat one day. It’s a beautiful day off the coast of wherever you are. You decide to listen to the radio and catch some rays on the boat. Then, all of a sudden, a terrible storm starts up, and you can’t communicate to anyone on shore to come and save you. What are you going to do? I, personally, would panic. I mean, hello, there are sunami-like waves crashing over you every minute, and the wind is almost strong enough to carry you away.
This situation has happened before. In Matthew 8:23-27, Jesus and his disciples are out on a boat one day and a massive storm comes.
 “And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid,O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
These men were panic stricken just like I would have been. However, Jesus was with them. Jesus calmed the storm just like that. It was like a slice a cake to him. He just stood up and shewed away the winds and waves. Jesus was like, “Really guys? Have a little faith in me. Don’t be scaredy cats”. I feel like He is saying this to us in our everyday lives. When a storm arises in our lives, He is whispering in our ear to have faith in him because He will bring us peace.
The Lord has blessed us with peace, which is a fruit of the spirit. Therefore, we must past the peace onto others. We all experience storms in our lives. It’s easy to get caught up in them and with each other. It’s hard to remain calm when people let you down. Nevertheless, we must keep the peace.

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God!” (Matthew 5:9)

Be a peacemaker today. Don’t drown in the storm, but survive on the fruit called peace.

 

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Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

What does it mean to you to be joyful? Think of what your definition of joy is. Where do you find joy?

According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, the definition of joy is the “emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires”. I don’t really like that definition. You know why? It doesn’t mention anything about finding joy even when you don’t get what you desire. When times are tough or you feel like you’re failing, joy can still be found. Sorry Merriam Webster, but I’d say that’s not the best definition for joy.

“Count it all joy, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.  You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.” (James 1:2-3)

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. It’s part of the Lord, and we must all strive to achieve it. Without it, it will be hard to carry on through life. Through the ups and the downs, through the peaks and pits, my friends, we need to hold onto joy. You and I both know everyday comes with its high’s and low’s. The lows can be pretty tough, but we must count it all joy because without the lows, there wouldn’t be highs. Without the pits, we wouldn’t be able to dive deeper into our relationship with the Lord. Our “faith-lives” wouldn’t be “forced into the open and show its true colors”.

If there’s something holding you back today, it’s holding you there for a reason. The Lord didn’t give us tests and challenges to see us fail in misery. He isn’t a bad guy, you know. He put us through trials to see how much we can endure on our own until we trust in him. Even though these difficult trials may leave us feeling down in the dumps, we must realize it’s for a reason. The reason is to make us stronger and our relationship with God stronger. We should laugh at all our defeats and challenges, because in the end, our failures won’t matter, but how you acted during them, will.

So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” (John 16:22)

Remember that no one can take your joy from you. It’s a fruit of the Spirit. Live with joy in your heart always.

 

 

Fruit of the Spirit: Love

 fruit of the spirit

Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be studying the different fruit of the Spirit. What is a fruit of the Spirit you may ask? Well, I’d say that they are the essential qualities that make a fruitful life in the Holy Spirit possible. Here is what the Bible has to say about it:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

Today, we will start with the fruit of love. All you need is love. Love like crazy. Lovin’ him was red. I could keep rolling off a million song lyrics about love, but I’ll just stick with these for now. I find that there are different types of love. One being the gushy mushy love of a significant other. A second type of love is the deep passion for something you enjoy doing or believe in. Lastly, love can be the unfailing care for everyone around you. What kind of love do you possess? What kind of love does God possess?

“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31)

There are certain people in this world who may have caused you pain or have done wrong to you and others. It’s hard to love them because of the anger you have towards them. However, we must think about how God loves us. I mean, we all have done wrong to one another. We all have our ugly moments, but does God stop loving us? The Lord has unfailing love for each and everyone one of us. What would life look like if we all had unfailing love for one another? In the above Bible verse, the Lord is commanding us to love the people around us as much as we love ourselves. This is the greatest commandment of all. The Lord’s greatest yearning is for His people to love one another.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

It’s a good feeling to know that it’s alright to mess up. Everyone sins, and everyone can be forgiven. What is the best way to make up for your sins? I’d say by loving. That is what the Lord is trying to point out in 1 Peter 4:8. Love can help restore all different types of sins. Notice how this verse says, “Above all”. Once again, the Lord is telling us that loving each other is the best thing to do on this earth. Above everything in the whole entire universe, love deeply. Loving one another can be shown in multiple forms. By speaking kind words to showing compassion to others, love can be displayed.

My favorite bible verse on love is this one:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.” (13:4-7)

What I love about it is all of the little different definitions of what love is. If you are looking on ways to love, this verse will show you the multiple aspects of what love is. Whenever I’m frustrated with loving someone or something, I look to this verse and take a part of it to keep in mind. The best part of this verse is “love never fails”. You cannot fail when you love. Nobody can succeed in this life without love. Love is a fruit of the Spirit.

Challenge:

When you face frustration this week with another person, take a step back for a second and think about how to react with love. Some ways of doing this is having patience with the person or stopping your tongue from being rude. It will be a challenge, but God begs us to do this.

Prayer:

Lord, let me love others as much I love myself. Even in the hardest of circumstances, help me love. You have loved me with an everlasting love, so let me return the favor to others. Lead me to discover the fruit of the Spirit with You over the next couple of weeks. Amen. 

 

Blessed Are The Givers

“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

Do you ever get that good feeling after you help someone? Maybe you helped your neighbor carry in the groceries or maybe you gave a friend some math help, whatever it was, you must have felt happy to have helped them. It’s a true blessing when somebody helps you out in time of need, so why not pass along the help to someone else?

I know that a kid’s favorite thing is receiving presents. When I was little, my favorite part of Christmas was Santa. I mean, free gifts, why not? To this day, I still like getting gifts, but something has changed in me as I’ve grown up. I love to see the expression on people’s faces when they receive gifts, especially the gifts I picked out.

However, you can give more than just a physical gift. The most precious gift of all, I personally think, is time. Taking time to tend to one another’s need is crucial because it allows us to take the focus away from ourselves for a moment and devote it to somebody else. I know all of us could use more time in our lives to get things done, but God didn’t give us limitless time for a reason. He limits our time in a day because He wants us to use it wisely and not all for ourselves. A good challenge for us is to take some time out of our jam packed day to devote to someone other than ourselves. The reward is much greater than the reward we would get from spending the time on ourselves.

Let us be cheerful in our giving. Let us do it for God and not for ourselves. It’s hard not to be prideful while giving to others, but we must remind ourselves it’s for the Lord. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

In 2 Corinthians 9:7, the bible tells us to not be reluctant in our giving. When we spend time on others, we shouldn’t be unhappy while doing it. We shouldn’t feel like it’s a burden to take time out of our day for our neighbors. The Lord placed that time in your day for the purpose of serving others. Being a servant for the Lord should be something that lights you up inside. When you give to someone, it should warm your heart as much as it warms their heart. For, the Lord will bless you far beyond how you’ve blessed someone else.

Challenge:

Spend time on others everyday. It can be as simple as running an errand for someone to baking a cake for a friend.

Prayer:

Lord, help me serve others for the glory of You alone. Let me not be prideful, but humble when I give to others. Let it come from my heart and not from reluctance. Guide me to become a cheerful giver in my everyday life. Amen. 

A Lack of Patience Can Cause You To Miss Blessings

1 Samuel says, “a lack of patience can cause you to miss blessings.”

Patience is not an easy thing. In this fast pace world, you don’t find patience a lot. For example, I find myself slamming the keys on my laptop when it takes more than 30 seconds to load. I get real frantic me while waiting at a red light when I need to be somewhere. The worst is when food at restaurants takes forever when you think you could eat a cow. What all of these scenarios lack is an act of patience.

We all want things, and we want them now. It’s against human nature to wait patiently for something we desire. What God asks of us, though, is to be patient. It’s difficult to have patience when you don’t understand what the Lord is doing in your life. Those times when everything seems to be turning for the worst are extremely challenging to have patience in. What does patience look like? You may ask. Well…

“So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” (Genesis 29:20)

Woah there, who said anything about waiting seven years for something? Nobody’s got time for that.  This Jacob dude must have really loved this Rachel chick. It took him seven years to get Rachel, but it didn’t feel like that long because of his overflowing love for her. Without those seven years of waiting, Jacob wouldn’t have his true love Rachel. He would’ve missed out one of the biggest blessings of his life. What would happen if we were that patient in our own lives? Could we ever be? It sure would be tough, but the Lord can help us out.

Whatever it is that you need clarity on in your life throw it upon the Lord. Put your hope in Him because He will give you clarity. It may take time, but along the way He will help you out. “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” (Psalm 37:7)

Resting in the Lord means to cast all of your anxieties on Him. He will take care of them. While you rest, wait with patience for the Lord because He will answer your calls. It may not seem like it, but He will. All good things take time, you just have to learn to be patient.

If we aren’t patient, we will miss out on some of the most incredible gifts of the Lord. If we don’t wait for relationships with others to be restored, we could miss out on the blessings those people have to offer to us. If we can’t wait for the work load to simmer down, then we won’t be able to enjoy everyday life. If we don’t have patience with the Lord, then we can never go on happy.

“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:25)

Challenge:

Think of the things in your life that you could devote a little patience towards. Ask the Lord for help with patience.

Prayer:

Lord, fill me with patience as I wait for you to fulfill your promises to me. Remind me that all good things take time. Guide me through this complicated life with Your light. Let me put all my hope in You and wait patiently. Amen

 

Look Upon Him for Rest

I don’t know about y’all, but I am tired a lot. Some days just wipe me out. Everyday life is so busy, and sometimes we feel like we may fall apart. I feel sorry for those people who don’t believe in God. I mean, come on, what’s their secret to being sane without the Lord? Maybe, they aren’t. Anyhow, I know I wouldn’t be able to make it through the day with God carrying me through. Life can be burdensome when you have to carry a lot on your shoulders. It’s hard to balance all of the different activities without being overwhelmed with fatigue. There’s only one way to overcome this. Jesus.

“but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Wow, I wish I could run and not be weary. After about a lap around the track, I feel like collapsing. However, the point is not the fact that I may be slightly out of shape, but that I can’t do tiring things alone. When I’m doing those field sprints, I have to ask the Lord to get me through them without getting sick. I pray something like, Lord, give me strength to get me through this, or I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. Whether the hard work you’re doing is physical or not, by just praying these words, you’ll feel more empowered.

Sometimes I’m just too weak and tired to even get out of bed. Does anyone else have this problem? I have some good advice on how to make waking up easier. Right when you open your eyes in the morning, I’d suggest praying to the Lord. It starts off your day on the right foot, especially when you’re a Mr. Grumpy Pants in the morning. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but I always sing or say under my breath a little song when I wake up. It goes to Psalm 118:24: this is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made, I will rejoice, I will rejoice, and be glad in it and be glad in it, this is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it, this is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made. Amen. 

Do whatever floats your boat in the morning to start your day off on a good note with God. Throughout the day, pray to Him to give you strength to do the challenging things. Nobody can get through the day without the Lord helping them. God BEGS for you to come to him for strength and rest. Why not take Him up on his amazing offer?

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

 

Beautiful Things

beautiful things

Throughout today, one song has keep popping up in random places for me. It’s called “Beautiful Things” by Gungor. If you’d like to listen to it, here’s the link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1spkhp41ig4

I highly suggest watching this video.  Here are some of my favorite lyrics from it:

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

What part of song stuck with you the  most? In this post, I’m going to dissect my favorites parts of the song.

Life’s chaotic alright, but we can find a new hope in God. When the world is pulling you in a million different directions, there will be one path to take. That path is the path of peace to your Savior. How would you define peace? I think of it as a restful state of mind where no trouble can occur. You can find God’s peace in may ways. My personal favorite is by finding a quiet place and reading His Word. I read encouraging scripture and pray to him. It’s nice to know that you always have a safe haven in God.

“May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

It’s amazing to think about how He can make beautiful things out of the dust. I mean how incredible are the mountains in Alaska and how breathtaking are the seas in Greece. God has put beauty that is beyond perfect on this earth. How is it possible for the Lord to make these astounding beauties out of nothing? It’s true. God can make anything beautiful. He can turn around any situation. Think about it. He turned around the corrupt world into a world of forgiveness and grace by sending down his one and only son to die for us. Anything can made beautiful, you just have to have faith.

You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” (Songs of Solomon 4:7)

He also can make you new. Think about when you are internally ugliest. What is something you have done that you aren’t proud of? Now keep that thought for a second. Then, let it go. By letting it go, you are letting God make you new again. All humans mess up. As long as we confess our sins to the Lord, we can be made new again. If we apologize to the ones we have hurt, we can feel better about our mistakes. God  makes beautiful things out of us. Each one of us is beautiful. We all have been blessed with wonderful gifts that let us show God’s beauty.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

Challenge:

Find God’s peace this week. If you find a time this week that is pure chaos, sit back and find peace in the Lord. He will give you the strength to get through it. Here are some suggestions: 1) Write down your worries and fears 2) Pray to the Lord about them 3) Sink into His Word in a quiet place and be renewed

Prayer:

Lord, let me find peace in You. Make me new again. Help me let go of all of my sins and be renewed in You. Open my eyes to all of the beautiful things You have set before me. Amen.