Wednesday, July 31, 2013


   I thought this little Mary Englebreit drawing was a good one for the what I wanted to share today. Last time I shared about peace and that Romans 15:13 mentioned in believing and trusting God we would have joy and peace, and could count on the Holy Spirit to fill us with a bold hope. God is a God of unity. There is so much in scripture that talks about the body of Christ walking in unity and the power of it in our lives. The fruit of the Spirit is singular. 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  The word is “fruit”, not “fruits”. Just like the ingredients in those cookies the adorable red haired girl in this drawing is baking, we can not separate the nine fruit of the Spirit. (Please notice the ingredients in her little jars :-) When we are born again the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us and all of the character and nature of God comes in with the Holy Spirit. Our spirit now has life in it, the life of God. To walk in the life God has for us we need to understand how each of the nine fruit of the Spirit are developed in us, and how they look when they are manifested. God intends for His people to walk in His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness gentleness and self control ~ all of them, together. Those are His nature and they are foreign to the world. When the world sees those characteristics in us, they see God. Therein is true evangelism. The world can argue our words, but not our actions. To be able to develop the fruit, or the character and nature of God in our life we must know God. We must spend time seeking Him.We must spend time reading His Word and make it the final authority in our lives. We must spend time quietly before Him just listening to what He wants to show us. Have you ever noticed how when people spend a lot of time around someone they begin to talk, sound and act like them? You can especially see that in children. Well, if we are spending quality time with God, we will imitate Him. Since God is love, what we do will be motivated by love. At that point we will truly be ambassadors for Christ.

   So let’s take a look at that fruit of joy that was mentioned with peace earlier. Since we just talked about spending time with God, this fruit has a special significance here.

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11 

Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Nehemiah 8:10

   Joy is not just a feel good fruit that has a status slightly more elevated than being happy. Joy is the strength of the Christian, and a very powerful force. W. Phillip Keller wrote, “Joy is a divine dimension of living not shacked by circumstances. This joy springs from the presence of God in a person’s life.” Happiness is contingent on that which is happening around us. Happiness has to do with what others do and those things that we experience, it is all circumstance. Happiness is about the world around you and can change drastically and quickly.  Joy on the other hand is on the inside of us and if we develop it, it will be the constant, unchanging force that causes us to be more than conquerors, overcomers! 

   Deuteronomy 28:47-48 tells us that since the Israelites did not serve the Lord with joy they did not enjoy the abundance he had for them. They experienced lack and wanting for all things including food and water, they had to serve the enemy and were in bondage to him.  2 Peter 2:19 tells us that those without the strength of joy in their life will serve whomever or that which overcomes them. The joy of the Lord that we develop in our time spent with him will prevent that. Joy has several roles, but its greatest is to give strength to us to overcome ~ anything.

   Because of the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross. Remember how Jesus did nothing and said nothing but what His Father told him to do? How did Jesus know what the Father wanted Him to do? The same reason He had the joy to endure the cross! He spent time with Him.

...looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

   I have had a number of things in my life that sent me running for time in the throne room of God. I have found though, the best thing to do is be there everyday getting to know Him and just soaking in His love and giving Him praise for it.

    Is there something in your life you need to be strengthened for? Or, do you just feel you aren’t living quite the quality of life God has for you, maybe just weary?  Spend quality time with Him everyday and see how that love~joy connection will strengthen you. I would love to hear about how God met you in that time!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Keep Calm and Carry On

   George Alexander Louis, HRH Prince of Cambridge and his parents the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are quite the big media item just now so I thought I would jump in and do something a little British.

   This bold colored poster with simple font was created and designed to boost morale of the British people in late 1939 after World War ll broke out. This typically British stiff upper lipped slogan was developed by civil servants, it was designed by the British Ministry of Information and produced by King George VI’s HMSO, His Majesty’s Stationery Office.  This was done to raise the morale and keep the British public positive and peacefully focused in the event of massive air attacks on Britain by Germany, which were expected at the outbreak of this war. Over 2.5 million posters were printed. Fortunately, since the war ended without such attacks few were distributed for the public to actually see. This was the third and last poster in a series of three. Most of the original Keep Calm and Carry On posters were destroyed. What precious few that were left, possibly only 15, began emerging around the turn of the 21st century, circa 2,000 A.D. The emergence of these rare posters has unveiled an interest in the message therein. Crown Copyright expires after fifty years on artistic workmanship making this piece now public domain and we are seeing the vast interest appeased with mugs, T~Shirts, mouse pads, books such as Keep Calm for Mums, Keep Calm for Chaps, Keep Calm and Cuddle Up, tote bags and biscuit tins just to name a few available for purchase.

   Public domain, what an interesting and legally binding, or freeing term. I love God’s Word! Public Domain has never been, nor will it ever be an issue for God’s Word. Can we use that verse? Is it plagiarism to use a certain version or translation? Thankfully, no. God’s Word is timeless, eternal, and freely (well except for that payment Jesus made that bankrupt Heaven to get it here for us) given to all men that will receive it. So, that brings me to something I was studying this week and thought that beautiful British poster was perfect for this post.

   In the gospels we see what Jesus came to do; in Acts we see what was to continue being done by the original disciples and is now to be carried out by us. The gospels give us the teaching of Jesus, in Acts we see how that teaching works through the apostles. Jesus told His disciples that He was leaving and that He would leave His peace and they were not to be afraid. Jesus spoke peace to a raging storm and all was calmed, including the fearful disciples.  In John 14:27 the word “leave” means “bequeath”.  Jesus was leaving and going to be in Heaven with our Father, and at His right hand. It is there that His enemies are being made His footstool. Jesus took back the devil’s authority over earth and gave it back to us. While here on earth it is the body of Christ that has been given that authority and the responsibility to be more than conqueror’s, making the enemies of Jesus His footstool.  What a person “bequeath’s” to another is something of value to them. Jesus bequeathed us His peace because He knew we were going to need it to be victorious.

   Paul demonstrates that beautifully and with victory.  Paul kept His peace by keeping his focus on, Jesus Christ. Take a look at the book of Philippians and see how many times Paul mentions Jesus Christ. Then take notice of how many times he mentions joy, or rejoicing, or thankfulness. This focus on Jesus in the midst of living through tribulation, persecution and horror we will most likely never  know, is Paul’s book on joy. Keeping his mind fixed on Jesus was how he stayed full of peace and joy. And Paul was very victorious in his walk with the Lord here on earth!

   Anyone that has accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior has the peace of God in them. Peace is one of the fruit of the Spirit and is given to the new believer when the Holy Spirit enters them. The same way we trusted Jesus for our salvation; we must trust and allow the Holy Spirit to work and flow in our lives. He is the one ministering to us and in believing God for that, and for peace through the power of the Holy Spirit we will have the victorious lives God intended for us. Also, as Romans 15:13 says, we will abound in hope which is a precursor to victory.

   I think King George VI was onto something, something quite powerful.

   Stop and think for a moment about a time that you stayed calm, held on to your peace, and then enjoyed a victory because of it. You can put that on your “Count Your Many Blessings” list and name it among all the others.  God is so good ~ all the time.

Okay, it's not the motivational King George VI red, but don't you agree the pretty pink just promotes peace?

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.  
Isaiah 26:3

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Humility is the Power Fruit!

   Yesterday we looked at how true humility is not the opposite of confidence and it is not low self~esteem or any other self depreciating behavior. We saw how just the opposite is true. Genuine humility is when we walk in complete confidence that through the work Jesus finished on the cross we are the righteousness of God and nothing less! We do that because we have abandoned ourself and bowed our knee under His mighty hand. We choose to let God be God, therein is where we humble ourselves, and then He exalts us.
   Humility is a word that typically brings about a negative response in people.  People tend to think it connotes weakness or means they must abandon what they want and selflessly sacrifice for others. Humility as it relates to being humble in that we put others first is not a chore we must finish on our  “to do" list when we are enjoying the fullness of God’s love. When we are spending time with God and walking in His love, kindness and goodness toward others will roll out of us quite easily and in abundance.

   Jesus made Himself low for us and God exalted Him. Saul was brought out of his lowliness and God made him the first king of Israel. He became prideful and was destroyed.  Should we play nice so we can attempt to be lifted up or to get things? No! I am not talking about religious works to appease or attempt to please God. I am talking about the outflow of God’s goodness that is developed in us. God is love and everything in our Spirit is birthed out of love. If we are spending time with God, reading His Word and allowing Him to speak to us, we will experience and develop that love relationship. That time in the Word will renew our mind. That time of fellowship spent with our Father will cause His love in our spirit to beautifully infuse our souls with itself. That love is what will pour out of us and onto others. Putting others first will come naturally, well supernaturally ~ but it will be effortless for us. God loves to shine through us! I am always amazed when I realize He is using me. That is another post though.
   When watered and given sunlight fruit will effortlessly grow on a tree. Meekness is a fruit of the Spirit, but there is no real definition for the Greek word in English. The Greek word “meek” in Matthew 5:5 and the word “meekness” in Galatians 5:23 both are “praus” or “praos”. This Greek word is not easily defined in English but the words gentleness, mild and humility or humble are what best translate. One thing Vine’s Dictionary says is that this can be translated as “It [meekness~humility] is not occupied with self at all but with what can benefit others. Another definition is “to be totally dependent upon God.” True humility begins when we embrace John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."  When we do that we empty ourselves of ourselves and God can fill that empty vessel with the kind of love that expresses itself to others with their benefit as its goal. That is where "meekness ~ humility" which are most often named "gentleness" in the fruit of the Spirit, shines out as the fruit of the Spirit with great power. If you read on down to John 15:7-8 you will see the power of that humility, If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples”. And then again in Philippians 4:13 we see what happens when we humble ourselves and let God take over, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And it will be as effortless as grapes growing on a vine.
   The world is looking for real love and if we have the real deal in our relationship with God and freely give it to others, they will recognize it and receive it. If we teach children young how to develop their relationship with God, really show them how to spend time with their Abba~Daddy, we will not have to explain the importance of being a kind person because the love they are receiving and experiencing from their Heavenly Father will flow out of them. Imagine the ripple effect of that!

Is there an area of your life that spending more time just enjoying your Heavenly Father's company would be of help and an encouragement to you?

“So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven."
 Matthew 18:4

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Be clothed with Humility.

   Donna Partow, author of Becoming a Vessel God Can Use has penned a statement about humility that is absolutely spot on as far as I am concerned because it is completely scriptural.

Humility is not the same as beating yourself up or letting other people put you down. Humility is not the same as low self~esteem and it’s not the opposite of confidence. In fact, the truly humble person walks with absolute confidence, knowing that we are simply empty vessels through whom God wants to accomplish His work.   Donna Partow    

   In the Old Testament we see the phrase “put on” primarily in reference to the donning of garments, adornment or armor, or the application of oil or water on someone or something, or setting an article of some kind on something. The New Testament has a few similar references using the term “put on”, but the New Testament ushered in a far more personal and powerful kingdom principle with that phrase.

   In the Old Testament there are many verses and passages telling us what righteousness is and is not, and how God’s people can benefit from it. The New Testament shows us something very beautiful about righteousness that only the born again Christian can experience. Righteousness is a force and an integral, vital and powerful force. Because of the finished work of the cross, Jesus took all of our sin, past, present and future on Himself and gave us His righteousness, the righteousness of God!

   If you are a born again believer of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are the righteousness of God Himself!

   But we must wear that righteousness and not leave it in the closet. This “putting on” is going to take more than slipping into trousers, a dress or shoes though. And to believe you are the righteousness of God and walk it out before others will take the total abandonment of self and the trust in God that IS true humility. Unlike those in the Old Testament we have the very Spirit of God living in us, and all the fruit of His nature is a part of us. “Putting on” one the characteristics of God’s nature is not “putting on” pretense. This is receiving without hesitation or apology what God bankrupt Heaven to give us. To “put on” the righteousness of God, or anything else He promised us, we simply must believe God, agree with His Word and choose to walk and talk that alone.

   1 Peter 5:5 tells us to be clothed with humility. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Ephesians 6:14 tells us to put on our righteousness. And then, 1 Peter 5:5 tells us God gives grace to the humble. In our own strength, and since pride gets in the way, we need God’s grace to be able to walk in the kind of confidence we can have in God and in His Word. It takes true humility to do that. Humility is not self degradation, but understanding our right standing in Christ, and Christ alone. Jesus knew Who He was every step of the way to the cross. No matter how it looked to man, He, the King of kings, walked out the highest calling of all.

   When we have understanding, a revelation, of what God’s Word is saying about something to the degree that we make the quality decision to actively receive it, we will apply it to our daily lives and refuse to allow anyone, any thought, or any circumstance try to persuade us out of that promise.

   When you are tempted to say things about yourself are self degrading or are contrary to who you are in Christ, stop and think about how God sees you and the right standing you have with Him. Meditate on that for a few minutes and then see what it is you really want to say.

For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield. 
Psalm 5:12

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's a Prince!

Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their first son the HRH Prince of Cambridge!

Update:  On Wednesday, 24 July the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced their son’s name and title. His given name is George Alexander Louis and he will be known as, His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge.