Tag Archive | Peace

How’s your fruit?

As followers of Christ we are called to bear fruit. The fruit we bear is a direct result of being firmly attached to the vine, thereby able to receive nourishment. In our walk with Christ, if we wish to produce good fruit we must stay firmly attached to Jesus, our true vine and continue to receive the nourishment of the Holy Spirit. Both are necessary for us to produce fruit that is pleasing to God.  Acts 2:38,39 NIV “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Without the Spirit of God within us we are unable to produce fruit that will please our Father.  Regardless of what good works we do, they will be done in the flesh and will have no spiritual benefit whatsoever. However, when the Spirit of God lives within us we have the ability to produce fruit that will have long lasting spiritual affects! He has equipped us to produce good fruit that will draw others to Him and enable us to fulfill the purposes He has for our lives.  Galatians 5:16-26 NIV 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Jesus told us that we will be known by our fruit. Matthew 12:33-37 NIV 33 Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 3A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

The good fruit we produce is a direct result of being led by the Spirit of God and not by good deeds done in the flesh. Our flesh is incapable of doing anything that will please God. Our flesh, no matter how well intended it may be, will never be able to please God. It is only those things done as we abide in Christ and are led by the Spirit that please God as we see in the book of John.  John 15:1-17 NIV 15 I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

In order to produce good fruit for the Kingdom of God we MUST remain close to the true vine (Jesus) and the gardener (God the Father). This can only be done by spending time with them in prayer, after all  how is it possible to maintain a close relationship with someone when you refuse to spend time with them? It is also vital that we spend time in the Word of God. Our Bible is God’s Word to us! It is God breathed and essential for our growth as we see in 2 Timothy 3:14-17 NIV 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Just as any fruit that has been cut off the vine will eventually wither, so will we wither spiritually when we are apart our true vine, Jesus!  Without our attachment to the vine, our fruit will not only wither but eventually rot! Jesus warned us of the importance of producing good fruit. One day each of us will have to give an account for the fruit that we did or didn’t bear. It is a stern warning that each of us should take very seriously!

Matthew 7:16-23 NIV 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

If you find yourself drifting from your intimacy with Christ, our true vine, ask Him to forgive you and get back into spending time with Him in prayer and in studying His Word. He longs for you to spend  time with Him. He longs for you to produce good fruit for the Kingdom! He has called you and equipped you to do just that! Don’t allow anything or anyone to sever your branch from the vine!

Blessings!

There are periods that we forget that in the pursuit of fruit, that if we just abide in Him, then fruitfulness is a guarantee.~Francis Chan

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Wallow or Abide? You choose

This week has been a challenge for me. I have continued to battle a cold/flu bug that has left me with a hoarse voice, a mild headache and a cough. We’ve all experienced the symptoms at one time or another and they are not fun. I noticed something about myself this time around. I noticed I had become  so focused on how crummy I was feeling that I really wasn’t spending much time in prayer. I was wallowing. I hate wallowing. Wallowing is a complete waste of time. Nothing ever get’s accomplished when we wallow. I also thought of my brothers and sisters in Christ worldwide, who suffer daily with a lot worse than a cold or flu. Some to chronic illness, hunger or even persecution. They have learned that they can lean into Him during their deep lows.  In fact, there is no one better to lean into than Christ during our deep lows. They know what I am learning. Discomfort, sickness and pain can be a distraction from our walk with Christ or they can be tools to draw us even closer.

If we allow times of discomfort to pull us away from Christ, it’s not long before we begin to bear some pretty ugly fruit. We allow our discomfort to excuse bad behavior. We snap back at people, we put our needs before others, we become callous to others as we gripe and complain about how bad we feel!  Sound familiar?  It does to me! 🙂 What God may be allowing to produce some sweet fruit in us becomes an excuse to produce lemons! However, if we lean into Christ during these times, He will use the time to produce the beautiful fruits of the Spirit in us such as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. (Galatians 5:22,23 NIV)

We make the choice. So today, I choose to lean into Him, the lover of my soul. I choose to let Him use me this day, despite how I feel. I choose to no longer wallow. I choose to no longer drop the ball on those counting on my prayers. I choose to abide in Christ today.  I choose to allow Him to produce some sweet fruit in me instead of lemons!

Romans 5:3-5 NIVNot only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

“Each of us is as close to God as we choose to be.”~ Dr. Oswald Sanders

Are you hoarding the gospel?

The Good News is to be shared.

The Good News is to be shared.

I am amazed at how awesome our God is….Amid struggles of any kind, ailments and diagnoses HE offers peace. Peace that is impossible for anyone who doesn’t know Him and spend time with Him to understand. I know many people right now that are being soaked in prayer and our waiting on God. Resting in various circumstances without wringing their hands or complaining. Just resting, knowing that the lover of their soul has it all under control. Knowing that He will not allow anything to touch our lives that we cannot handle with Him.

I would like everyone to have the same peace. To have the same help in times of trouble. To have an ever present friend who will never leave them or forsake them.

When we see a hurting world of people trying to duke it out on their own it makes us long to share the love of Christ with them.  If we have His love shed abroad in our hearts we can’t help but want to when we know how much sweeter life is with Him, despite our circumstances.

Most of us enjoy sharing some  of the beautiful things in our lives with our friends, coworkers and acquaintances. When our child marries, when we become grandparents, a new house etc.. Though none of these things have the ability to make a huge difference in the life of the one we are sharing with, we all have the need to share. We are created to have fellowship with others. What is more beautiful than the love of Christ in our lives?

Maybe it’s time we stop hoarding the gospel and start sharing the gift that keeps on giving? It’s hard to watch people struggling through life and not want to help. We need to do what we can for others in need and then share Christ. The gospel isn’t for a select few but God desires that ALL would come to Him.  Just as the Chinese proverb says, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for today, teach him to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” We need to tell others of God’s love for them and let them know that they can go right to the source. They have direct access to the Father through Christ.  They don’t need to spend their entire life counting on and being disappointed by others.

We serve a God that loves us so much He sent His precious Son to die for us. A God that will never leave us or forsake us. A God that is our strong tower in times of trouble. Our healer, deliverer and most of all a constant friend. How can we keep Him to ourselves?

2Peter3:9 NIV The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Mark 16:15 NIV He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel, to all creation.”

1 Corinthians 1:17 NIV For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel-not with wisdom and eloquence lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

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“Could a mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry? Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patients die? Could a fireman sit idle, let men burn and give no hand? Can you sit at ease in Zion with the world around you damned?”~Leonard Ravenhill

Peace is NOT dependent on our circumstances

523671_314457205336545_557872178_nI am so thankful today! Once again, God has kindly given us the desire of our hearts and my hubby has received a clean bill of health six weeks post prostate cancer surgery. I am thankful for the clean PSA reading today but for much more than that. I am thankful for the incredible peace God gave us both during this entire challenge.  From the time we received his diagnosis until today we have had an unnatural peace. Not the kind that comes from knowing we WILL get exactly what we have been praying for (which was full recovery) but the kind that comes from knowing the ONE who will provide the answer. God has kindly restored my hubby’s health. We are very thankful and happy that He has.  However, should He have allowed the cancer journey to go on further I believe we would still walk through the journey in peace. We are learning to believe His promises and trust the lover of our souls. There is nothing that touches our lives that we can’t trust Him with. This  journey has allowed us to lean not on our own understanding but to trust Christ with every aspect of the journey. As we turned to Him and sought His guidance He provided us with a wonderful surgeon/oncologist recommended by dear friends.  He has provided financially during the last six weeks so as we have not had to miss paying a single bill.  He has provided Mike with a quick recovery and physical strength. He has given us a new compassion for people diagnosed with a life threatening illness. He has put wonderful people in our lives that have and are continuing to deal with a cancer diagnosis and we are blessed to be able to pray with and pray for.

Though it would have  been nice to have my hubby home for six weeks under different circumstances, we are thankful that during  the last six weeks  we have been able to spend more time together than we have in years! The word of God says the rain falls on the just and the unjust. Difficult circumstances will come our way from time to time but I am so grateful that NOTHING is too big to surrender to Christ. He is available to us 24/7.  He not only meets our needs but provides for us in so many ways far beyond what we could imagine.

If you are going through difficulties give Christ the opportunity to give you a peace that passes all natural understanding as you wait on your answer. Give Him the chance to provide for your needs. As a follower of Christ walking in His will, these are promises for YOU. He is no respecter of persons. What He will do for us, He will do for you! Read the Bible and learn of His promises to His kids.  Lay your fears, worries and anxieties at His feet and ask Him to give you the peace that passes understanding. Ask Him for the wisdom you will need in decision making as you go through your difficulties and finally take Him at His word.

John 14:27 NIV Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.

Psalm 9:9 NIV The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Philippians 4:6,7 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God 7 And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Knowing the One who holds our future and how very much He adores us, gives us the confidence to trust that He is working out His plan for our life, regardless of what comes our way. Therefore there is NO reason to fear whatever that may be but instead we can bring all our needs to Him in prayer and rest in the peace He give us .

P.S.  If you don’t know Christ, the author of true peace,  perhaps it’s time you meet the one who died for you. He died for your sins and mine and through His death and resurrection He offers us a restored relationship with God the Father.  By calling on His name and confessing our sins, we are able to enter into a wonderful life changing relationship with Him. There is no sin too big that God cannot forgive you of when you come to Christ. He longs to have an intimate relationship with you. He wants to be the ONE you turn to in times of need. Through salvation in Christ, not only are we promised an eternity in Heaven but we are promised fellowship with Him as we walk through this journey here on earth.

John 3:16 NIV For God so loved this world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but  have everlasting life. 

May 2013 bring you into a closer walk with Christ,  the lover of your soul!

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From Fear to Freedom!

2 Corinthians 3:17

2 Corinthians 3:17

The past few weeks have made me more aware than ever of a “peace that passes all understanding.” There have been so many situations and circumstances that have arisen that would have simply turned me into a nervous wreck in the past. It was not all that long ago that I would worry about things that were about to happen, things that had happened and quite frankly things that never happened! 🙂

I am learning that there truly is a peace that Christ offers that cannot be explained. When we walk with Him we can have complete trust in His provision and ability to walk with us through any circumstance. Since June when we received my hubby’s diagnosis of prostate cancer, God has given me a peace that has exceeded anything I could ever imagine. We have been married for 33 years and I can’t even imagine my life without him. Without the peace and assurance God has given me, I would have been worried sick.  I have not. God has revealed His love and provision for us throughout this entire journey. From hearing of a wonderful surgeon from friends to providing for  our financial needs while he is to be out of work, God has met and exceeded all our needs. He is soooo faithful to His kids!

On top of the cancer diagnosis and surgery etc.. we have had some other family issues that God has moved in. Again, He answered our prayers! While on this life journey we will all go through difficulties. Some bigger, some smaller but eventually we will all have to walk through them. Today I went for my first mammogram. A few years ago I would have been worried about the results. Today, I went in and came out thinking, there literally is NOTHING that happens in our life that Christ will not go through with me. I am expecting the results to be absolutely fine, but if not, I have already learned first hand that my God is sufficient to see me through any situation!

He has freed me from fear. When it tries to rear it’s ugly head I just remember all the times and ways in which Christ has answered my prayers and met my needs and I am no longer a slave to fear but to freedom!

2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

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Complain less…Pray MORE

I suffered anxiety for a lot of my early life.  It was something that started in my early years and it just always seemed to be there.  When anything stressful would happen I would begin to worry and fret.  The only positive really was it used to send me into a cleaning frenzy!! However, the downside was too great…It would affect my sleep, I would be very short with those around me and it would cause me to overreact to any little thing when my anxiety level was high.

As a result of this I would complain about what those around me either weren’t doing or doing that was making things more difficult. I would get incredibly disappointed with those closest to me about things that were very insignificant.  I would gripe and complain and really it never accomplished anything!  I have learned there is a better way.  When something happens that is uncomfortable or difficult, when someone comes into my life that is particularly challenging I tell God on them.  🙂  Even bringing the issue to Him helps to keep it in perspective.  Most people behave badly because they feel badly inside or they harbor bitterness.  It doesn’t justify it but it does make it more understandable.  I am grateful that we have a high priest that we can turn to that forgives us and accepts us  when we screw up.  That fact alone helps me to be able to forgive others.

Though most of us spend years trying, we will NEVER be able to change anyone.  It is through prayer and the moving of the Spirit that true change comes.  Change that results in deep heart change.  Next time you come across a situation or person that causes you to feel anxious, stop and pray.  Tell Jesus on them!

Philippians 4:6-7 
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

“Those persons who know the deep peace of God, the unfathomable peace that passeth all understanding, are always men and women of much prayer.”~ R. A. Torrey

English: An anxious person

English: An anxious person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)