Smorgasbord Tuesday: Fruit of the Spirit Kindness

Whoops, I just realized I went out of order! Last week was supposed to be kindness not goodness, oh well. Anyway, how was your week with goodness? It ended up being my favorite week thus far. I had several situations where I needed God's goodness and I would pray before I entered the situation and say, “Lord, send your goodness.” It was exciting to watch and see what He would do. It was also exciting to think about all the good things in my life and to give Him all the glory for those things! How was your week with goodness? Did you learn anything new?

This week's fruit is kindness.

Romans 2:1-4
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?

Romans 2 shows a negative connection between judgment and kindness. So I thought we could focus on that this week. Kindness to me is being thoughtful, doing something nice for somebody whether a person deserves it or not. The Bible has a lot to say about not judging others and I personally am grateful for all those verses. Judging is something that I struggle with and I blogged about it before during Self-righteousness vs God's righteousness. Romans 2:4 always jumps out at me when I read it, “Did you not know that God's kindness leads you to repentance?” If you are anything like me, when you see a problem in someone else's life you want to get up in their face and help them extract it; right now! The last thing that comes to our mind is the idea of being kind to them right where they are at. Yet how is God with us? We think we have it all together especially when we are comparing ourselves to others, but slowly, kindly, and patiently God pulls back the layers in us and reveals to us another sliver. At that point in time, we can receive God's kindness, repent and allow Him to remove the sliver, or we can yank back and run away with the sliver still intact and the pain of having it exposed. We need to recognize the power of kindness to bring positive change.

Proverbs 25:21-23
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the LORD will reward you.

As usual, God asks us to treat people in a manner that is opposite of our natural reaction. God asks us to be kind to others whether they deserve it or not. Our job is not to worry about how they will respond to our kindness; whether they will react positively or negatively to it. What we do know is that God will operate through the pathway of kindness not judgment.

If you struggle with this concept the easiest place to start learning about it is by looking at your own life and how God treats you. When you recognize His kindness and mercy to you, it will begin to soften your heart and allow you to look at others through His eyes of kindness. So there is lots to do this week with the Spirit! Reflect on God's kindness towards you and begin to offer the fruit of His kindness to others.
Be blessed,

PS Today's the last day to comment, add e-mail subscription and/or follow my blog in order to qualify you to win one of the 2 books! I look foward to hearing from you.

Training Children

Proverbs 22:6 says,
Train up a child in the way he should go
and when he is older he will not depart from it.

What is “the way a child should go?” The way a child should go is to the Lord. Every child no matter what gifts and talents he/she has or doesn't have should be brought up to be a lover of God.

Is this really practical? You might say my child desires to be a mathematician or a scientist, a dancer or a mom... What do those things have to do with God? Who created us, created math, created the world? Despite what the world would have us believe there is no separation between God and the state, science, education, etc (see Elliot Pollasch's sermon 6/14/09 A Reasoned Faith for more on this topic; it is especially good if you have children close to college age).

God needs to be the foundation of our lives, but many people stop their faith right there. God is not only the foundation of our lives but He is also the path we are to daily walk upon. Why do so many young people walk away from the Lord? One reason is because their faith has no connection with everyday life and so it makes it very easy for them to throw it out the door. God is a Sunday morning event (and with many sports activities these days, He isn't even that) and then He is full of rules that end up being an annoyance from them being able to “fit in” with the crowd. They don't understand that they are a valued son or daughter of the King of the universe. That they are a friend of God (Romans 5:10-11). He desires to order their steps aright and to give them the desires of their heart. They don't realize that no matter what they choose to do with their lives He is a part of it. Scientists will get to discover the hidden secrets of God. You can see my article The God/Math Connection to see what God has to do with math. Dancers produce a form of worship and it can be done to the glory of God. Moms are raising the next generation of godly people. They have their hands daily involved in developing the only thing that is eternal, human lives!

How then do we bring God into our children's everyday lives? Deuteronomy 6:6-9 gives us a pretty good idea.
These commandments that I give you today
are to be upon your hearts.
Impress them on your children.
Talk about them when you sit at home
and when you walk along the road,
when you lie down and when you get up.
Tie them as symbols on your hands
and bind them on your foreheads.
Write them on the doorframes
of your houses and on your gates.

We make God as real as He is. We show our children that He truly is a part of our everyday life, a part of every subject and that He truly cares and loves us. So many parents set themselves up on a pedestal before their kids; look at me, follow my example, I'm the one in charge and control. This works for awhile, until you fail and hurt your kids and then they begin to resent you and everything you represent (including God). Instead of you being on the pedestal try allowing God to be on the pedestal. You should just be an arrow pointing the way to Him and you need to train your children to look beyond you to Him. When I talk to my kids about obeying me, I don't tell them to obey me because I am their parent and they have to. I tell them that I am responsible before God to raise them up in His ways and that God is not only requiring something of them, but He is also requiring something of me. Or if I mess up, I will ask for their forgiveness and we will pray together for His help the next time. Don't be too proud before your kids to admit your failures. Show them who you look to and how you look to Him so that they will know how to do it when they fail.

Let God be God in your life and your kids' lives everyday. If you do, they will become lovers of Him and when they are older they will not depart from Him.

Smorgasbord Tuesday: Fruit of the Spirit Goodness

So how was patience exhibited in you this past week? I was satisfied with my week and found myself intentionally looking to the Holy Spirit when I needed patience. I often thanked Him when I got it. My sister Wendy, checked in on me too during the week and asked me how I was doing in the patience category. She mentioned that the topic of patience had been brought up in her home already 2-3 times early in the week. I love how the Holy Spirit will run through an open door to help bring light to a topic. If you have a minute let me know how patience operated in your life last week.

This week's topic is goodness. I realized as I was getting ready for the post this week that I don't recall ever hearing a sermon on this subject. In addition, I've never really contemplated what goodness actually means or tried specifically to ask the Holy Spirit for more of it in my life. Love, patience, joy ~ those are all things I've thought and heard a lot about. So I'm excited to spotlight this fruit this week. What I have to share in this post comes from what I've already started learning with the Holy Spirit.

I started out by typing "goodness" in the keyword search at and was able to see all the times it was used in the Bible. When the word shows up in the OT it is only used in reference to God not man. Then I was reminded of what Jesus said to the rich young ruler, "Why do you call me good? No one is good - except God alone (Mark 10:18)." After contemplating these two thoughts, I was then very humbled that the Holy Spirit offers us the opportunity to have goodness in our life. What I am continually astounded by as we are studying the fruits of the Spirit, is that the fruits are pieces of God, who He is as a person (comes through relationship not religion:). As Jesus said, only God is good, yet because of Jesus we are offered the gift to have goodness in our life. We not only benefit personally by having goodness in our life, but we also benefit others by offering them the goodness of God through our lives (check out How Do You Taste? for more on this topic).

My prayer for this week is rooted in Psalm 139:23-24:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Goodness in our lives will only exist because of God and because He offers Himself to us. We need to submit our hearts to God on a daily basis. We learn from Galatians 5 that the fruit of the Spirit is our way to experience freedom in Christ. We have a daily battle occurring between our flesh man and our Spirit man. Just like exercise, it is not enough to know what to do. You can fill your brain with knowledge but at some point if you want to see results you need to apply what you have learned to your life. If you don't apply it you won't see the results. The same is true of our walk with God, it is not enough to know about the fruits, we need to put them into action when we come across a situation where the fruits need to be applied:

Romans 2:13
For it is not those who hear the law
who are righteous in God's sight,
but it is those who obey the law
who will be declared righteous.

So I encourage you to look to God this week to learn more about what His goodness in your life means and how it will look. Remember that:

Ephesians 2:10 says,
For we are God's workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.

You are God's workmanship, He loves you and has offered all of His goodness to you. He has good works for you to do this week. Keep your eyes open and see how you can bless others on behalf of your Father.

Excerpts from: Sailing Between the Stars

So I promised you excerpts from Sailing Between the Stars by Steven James, so this post will contain those. As a heads up, I tried to keep them short and simple in order to help provoke thought and curiosity. Please note that he is a storyteller by nature. This book is chalked full of stories, so these short paragraphs are only getting you a feel for the topics he discusses, not necessarily a feel for the beauty of his writing (which is why you need to read the book)!

From Chapter 1: in the company of fools pg. 16

Every once in a while a skeptic of Christianity will point out those paradoxes as a way of trying to attack the foundations of our faith. But followers of Jesus are already aware of them. We're the first to admit that our God isn't logical, our religion isn't reasonable, and our Savior isn't realistic. Here is our message: we're fools for God; come join us under the big top.

From Chapter 2: seeing with God-shaped eyes pg. 25

When we try to comprehend him, to package him up and explain him to the world, we diminish ourselves. After all, no one has ever been moved to tears by reading someone's resume. To really get to know a person, you get together for a cup of coffee or a bratwurst on the back deck. You become friends by sharing your hopes and dreams, your passions and fears, your heartaches and wounds and secret little embarrassing moments... God isn't a subject to be studied; he's a Person to be encountered. That's why the Bible is the story of God and not the lesson about God.

Chapter 6: ludicrous love pg. 67

Love, just like life, always involves risk. You cannot fully, truly love someone without risking your feelings, your time, your future. Those who are afraid to risk are afraid to love, because intimacy requires risk. Until you open your heart to someone to show them where you hurt the most, you'll never find intimacy or uncover the deepest secrets of love. And until we do that with God, we don't see the true depths of his love for us.

Chapter 13: chewing on God pg. 154

A profound longing for something more gnaws at us all. Yet no one is reassured by the belief that this world is all that there is. I've never met anyone who puts the question like this: "Aren't you glad this is all there is?" People who believe there's nothing more than this life don't find satisfaction, but only despair or resignation. Why would humans have such a universal disappointment in the world unless they were made for something more than this world?"

Chapter 14: dance of the wills pg. 167
I'm also aware that when we try to explain too much of the mysterious interplay of God's will and our own, we run the risk of saying too much or too little. Whenever you talk of mystery, heresy is only a heartbeat away. I've seen some people end up blaming God for not doing enough to save the lost and others end up giving too much of the credit to themselves for entering the dance.
So what exactly is our role in accepting the gift God offers? Is faith the hand that accepts the gifts of God? And if so, do we hold it out to him, or have we stuffed our hands so deeply into our pockets that he has to yank our hands out first before he can hand new life to us?
There seems to be both a divine wooing and a human willing in this process. Yet God is always the one leading the dance.

Chapter 15: the monk, the chainsaw and the king tut life-sized sarcophagus cabinet pg. 183

Sometimes it seems like Jesus wants me to be content, and sometimes it seems like he doesn't. On the one hand, he never let his followers settle in or become comfortable on this planet; instead he told them to think about and store up treasures for the life to come. Yet at the same time he inspired them to embrace every moment as a glorious gift without worry or stress or fear about the trouble tomorrow might bring.

Chapter 17: the bruise on the skin of the world pg. 199 **My favorite**

Some people think evil is the opposite of good, but I don't think that's how things work. If it was, evil would be just as powerful as good. The devil would be an equal match for God. This world would have only 50 percent chance of a happy ending. I don't buy any of that.

Instead, I think evil is the subtle corruption of good. After all, silence isn't the opposite of music; noise is. If you change only a few note of a song, you distort the whole melody, create dissonance, and turn the harmony into discord. Just a subtle distortion, a slight corruption, is all you need to wreck the whole song. By changing a few notes you change everything.

I think that's how evil works. Not by overpowering good but by corrupting it one note at a time: quietly turning self-confidence into pride, physical attraction into lust, pleasure into indulgence, respect into envy, self-preservation into selfishness, ambition into greed. It's not the opposite of good but the tainting of it.

Chapter 20: through the birth canal pg 244-245

Now is our time of anguish. Here on this inexplicable planet of ulcers and fear and graveyards and grief. As we bury our loved ones and bury our guilt and try not to yell so much at the kids. As we glimpse death grinning on the edge of the night, mouthing our name. According to St. Paul, our entire world is groaning as in the pains of childbirth (see Romans 8:22). But the message of Easter is that the final chorus of the galaxy is joy, not pain. The final refrain is life after death to all who believe. Even now, hope is real because Easter is real, and because of that we'll really see Jesus again and receive a joy that no one, that nothing will be able to take away.

So that is your glimpse of this book. Feel free to comment on which paragraph was your favorite, or which one was the most challenging to you. Each comment on any post until June 30th will get your name entered in a drawing to win this book. Your name will be entered for each time you leave a comment.

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Smorgasbord Tuesday: Fruit of the Spirit - Patience

So I'm starting to wonder what I was thinking 4 weeks ago when I thought it would be a good idea to go through the fruit of the Spirit. This journey for me has been like holding a big mirror up to my face and realizing it is full of dark permanent ink. In other words, yeah I need the Holy Spirit and His fruit in my life. The trees are looking awfully bear. How do you look?

Today's fruit is patience and I am by no means an expert on this fruit. I decided that if I were to ever have another child her name would be Patience because that was the next thing I needed to learn. Repeating the word, Patience, 20 times a day keeps the concept on the forefront of your mind! So like I said patience is not my greatest strength which gives me all the more reason to lean into the Holy Spirit.

I guess the theme that has been emerging for me during this journey the last 4 weeks is SURRENDER. I do; I surrender. You grow up a Christian, read the Bible, etc and people begin to look at you like you might be onto something. It starts to creep into your mind, yeah, I am something, I've got this thing down, I know how to be a Christian. Then, you look in the mirror, the word of God, and you realize left on your own you are still a dark stained mess:

Song of Solomon 1:5-6

I'm dark but lovely,

women of Jerusalem,

dark like the tents of Kedar,

like the curtains of Solomon.

Don't look at how dark I am,

at how dark the sun has made me.

My former pastor Shane Holden does a beautiful series on the book of the Song of Solomon relating it to our Christian walk. He hits on the verses above and talks about how we are dark, full of sin, but yet in God's eyes through His grace we remain lovely to Him. My point in all of this, is we need the Holy Spirit ~ like I've said before. If you see things in me that you like and enjoy, it is only there by the grace of God living through me (Put Your Clothes On! and Uprooting a Besetting Sin talk about some of the ways I've grown). I have a few friends that say to me, "Oh, your sooo patient." Well, guess what, I'm not! Any patience I do exhibit I give full credit to the Holy Spirit on those times because He has to reign me in a lot, but I often regrettable escape His grasp and go ahead with what I want to do. We are still working on this one together.

So here is a definition of patience for you scholarly types: The capacity to endure hardship, difficulty, or inconvenience without complaint. Patience emphasizes calmness, self-control, and the willingness or ability to tolerate delay (from

If you are like me and patience isn't your strong point, join the club. You need the Holy Spirit and like I said, He will grab a hold of you: your tongue, your thoughts, your actions if you let Him. And when you fail, you jump back into His arms and say, "Let's try it again. You go first this time."

So pull out your journals and let loose. Remember, if you leave a comment, you will get your name entered into the drawing for Sailing Between the Stars by Stephen James.

Love ya,

Secure your Identity

On Tuesdays we are looking at the fruit of the Spirit. The verses about the fruit of the Spirit are found in the book of Galatians. This has caused me to read the book of Galatians two times to get a better understanding of what Paul is trying to teach us. I think it is important for us to get a foundational understanding from the book of Galatians so we can continue growing in our understanding of our rights to the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

Galatians is a beautiful book, so if you have time I would recommend that you read the whole thing. Paul is trying to convince the Galatians that the Good News truly is Good News and that we do not need to add anything to it. We received the gift of salvation freely and to get the freedom that Jesus purchased for us we need to walk by trusting in Him and not by walking through the law.

I have titled this post: Secure your Identity because I believe that the key to walking in freedom is to know who you are. So do you know who you are? Pause here and think about this. How would you describe yourself to someone? What is your identity?

Your identity before God is this:
Galatians 3:26
You are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 4:4-9
God sent his Son who was born of a woman and lived under the law. God did this so he could buy freedom for those who were under the law and so we could become his children. Since you are God's children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, and the Spirit cries out, "Father." So now you are not a slave; you are God's child, and God will give you the blessing he promised, because you are his child. In the past you did not know God. You were slaves to gods that were not real.But now you know the true God. Really, it is God who knows you. So why do you turn back to those weak and useless rules you followed before? Do you want to be slaves to those things again?

Did you get the point? You are God's child, you are a child of God, He knows you! Jesus purchased our freedom from the law. Why? So we could become God's children. What did we get as a result? We have the Spirit of God inside of us proclaiming what is true ~ we can call God Father. There are benefits too to being a child of God: we can receive all the blessings He promised.

Galatians 5:1, 4-6,
We have freedom now, because Christ made us free. So stand strong. Do not change and go back into the slavery of the law. If you try to be made right with God through the law, your life with Christ is over—you have left God's grace. But we have the true hope that comes from being made right with God, and by the Spirit we wait eagerly for this hope. When we are in Christ Jesus, it is not important if we are circumcised or not. The important thing is faith—the kind of faith that works through love.

The point of For His Glory Alone is to help people to walk in the freedom that God intended. When I think of Jesus, He spent much of His ministry talking to the Pharisees trying to show them how they misunderstood God and were burdening people. Now we have the whole book of Galatians trying to convince us that we truly are free because of what Christ did and that it has nothing to do with the LAW but everything to do with Jesus and the cross. How do we walk this out then? We walk this out by allowing the Spirit who lives in us to live through us and we do it through LOVE. By loving God with all our hearts, souls, mind and strength and loving others. How can we do this? Understand your identity.
You are a child of God!
You are a child of God!
You are a child of God!

Galatians 5:16-18
So I tell you: Live by following the Spirit. Then you will not do what your sinful selves want. Our sinful selves want what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against our sinful selves. The two are against each other, so you cannot do just what you please.But if the Spirit is leading you, you are not under the law.

I have said it before and I will keep saying it: This thing called Christianity is not about following rules it is about relationship! I think I'm passionate about this because I have grown up in the church. I have seen too many childhood friends fall away from the Lord because they grew up thinking they had to follow all these rules to be right with God and when they couldn't they got fed up and quit! And it is understandable why they quit because Galatians tells us that there is no hope in following the law. We can't do it and we will fail; that is why Jesus came! If you've been in the church for awhile you might start to get sucked back into this "obeying the law thing." The result of this kind of living is a people burdened by guilt, condemnation, shame, joyless, frustrated...

Galatians 3:5
You began your life in Christ by the Spirit.
Now are you trying to make it complete by your own power?
That is foolish.

God did call us to live a righteous and holy life but it will not happen by our own power and strength and it will not happen by obeying all the rules. It only happens by being secure in your identity: knowing that you are a child of God and by following the Holy Spirit. This is how we live and walk in freedom! Be free today, everyday. Know who you are and walk in it confidently! Remember Galatians 4:8? It is God who knows you. He knows all your failures and your inabilities the fact that you could never make yourself right before Him. And you know what? He chose anyway to come and rescue you and call you His child. Once you are a child, His feelings for you don't change. His expectations don't change. He doesn't expect you now to do this thing on your own. Let Him walk with you today and love you as you are
a child of God.

Smorgasbord Tuesday: Fruit of the Spirit ~ Peace

So how are you doing? We are on week three of "feasting on the Holy Spirit." The last two weeks we looked at love and joy. Today's fruit is Peace.

John 16:7

Nevertheless I tell you the truth;
It is expedient for you that I go away:
for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you;
but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

Today I've decided to discuss the idea of peace by looking at the Holy Spirit as a Comforter. Why and when do we need peace? We need peace when things are a mess. One of the modes I believe the Holy Spirit brings us peace is through the mode of comfort. Before Jesus died, He promised the disciples that the Holy Spirit would come. One of the main ways He chose to describe the Holy Spirit was that the Holy Spirit is a Comforter. This isn't just a "job" of the Holy Spirit but rather it is who He is ~ just like God is love. If you are needing peace and comfort in your life right now you need the Holy Spirit. You don't need a list of things to do, or a new way of thinking. You need the Holy Spirit period. That is why this Christianity thing comes down to a relationship and it is not a list of rules and things to do.

Philippians 4:6-7

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

The kind of peace and comfort that the Holy Spirit brings transcends our understanding. Why? Because the Holy Spirit will walk with us through ANYTHING. The peace of the Holy Spirit is not a free pass to get us out of hardship and trouble, rather He stands before us in the midst of hardship and trouble and guards our hearts because our hearts are the wellsprings of our lives (Proverbs 4:23).

No matter what you are going through I continue to pray that you will allow the Holy Spirit to be who He is and to do what He does best in your life. He is COMFORTER and He brings peace which passes all understanding. He will guard your heart.

So if you are journaling on this journey ~ hit your journals. How is love growing in your life? How about joy? What areas in your life do you need the Holy Spirit to be the Comforter and bring that peace?

Be Blessed,


Do you believe in the omnipresence of God? The idea that He is present everywhere at all times?

My answer to these questions would be, yes. If your answer is yes, do you live in the reality of this understanding? I was listening to a song the other day and it said, "In the silence you are there." So often, we as Christians limit the "omnipresence" of God by thinking He is only there to meet with us in the silence. Yes, the Bible says, "be still and know that I am God" and there is great value in being able to set aside time and be alone with God, but are we limiting our growth in Christianity by not allowing God to be omnipresent in our everyday struggles?

I have had several conversations over the last couple months where people have stated that they haven't had time to be alone with God, devotions are hard, they feel distant from Him. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, He lives inside of you (fact). He is constantly knocking at the door and asking you to let Him in. Sure He would like face to face time, but He is able to help in any instant and guess what ~ if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. I believe we are the ones who limit ourselves to this benefit by defining it as only happening when we have 30 minutes to sit alone in the stillness of the day (not much of a reality for many of us is it?). I truly believe God wants to speak to us as we go about the dailyness of our lives ~ while we are doing the dishes, driving the car, putting on our shoes, doing the wash, splitting up fights, grocery shopping and more.

If you were inside my head, you would probably think I was crazy most of the time because I am constantly chatting with God. I was going to the grocery store the other day and thinking of something I had to make. I realized I completely forgot to write down one of the main ingredients. I was "reminded" on the way to the store to get that item. "Thank you God, for reminding me!" I really need to write this down but I was driving so I told myself to be sure to write it down when I stopped. Well, I forgot to write it down. If it's not on the list, it doesn't get purchased for sure. So we (the kids and I) were strolling down an aisle, with two kids falling out of the cart. I didn't really need to be down the aisle and I was stopped looking at the other side (not paying any attention to what was behind me). I felt prompted to turn around so I did and guess what ~ there was the item I didn't write down, staring right at me. All I could do was laugh and say "Thank you God, you knew I was going to forget, didn't you!" And He said, "Yes" and we laughed. I would have totally forgotten without His help (I already had forgotten 3 times).

Now the cynics in the group might say, "I have this major problem in my life, and God takes time to remind you about a missing ingredient in a recipe. Whatever!" This is a valid point. My response would be that we are always looking for God to show up in the big things, that we end up missing all the little things He does everyday. If we can't even recognize and praise Him in the everyday little things, how do we know we will recognize Him when He shows up in the big things? How do you stay in love with someone? By all the "Big moments" ~ the roses, taking you out for dinner, etc or is it in the little things they do? The fact that they recognize you are having a bad day by the tone of your voice, that they stick with you when you are at your worst, that they are faithful to laugh, cry, and just be with you everyday? I would venture to say, it is the little everyday things of life that cause us to truly get to "know and love" someone and that is just who and where God is able to show up. Start looking for Him in the small things and I guarantee it will be a lot easier for you to recognize His presence in the big things.

I leave you with this from Acts 17:24-31 (from The Message)
"The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn't live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn't take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don't make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn't play hide-and-seek with us. He's not remote; he's near. We LIVE and MOVE in him, can't get away from him! One of your poets said it well: 'We're the God-created.' Well, if we are the God-created, it doesn't make a lot of sense to think we could hire a sculptor to chisel a god out of stone for us, does it? 30-31"God overlooks it as long as you don't know any better—but that time is past. The unknown is now known, and he's calling for a radical life-change.

Smorgasbord Tuesday: Joy

So we are currently going through the fruit of the Spirit on our Smorgasbord Tuesdays. Last week the fruit was love. How did it go for you (please share:)? It was actually harder than I thought it would be. The Lord gave more than enough opportunities to show love; and frankly a lot of the time, I did not feel like loving. I kept hearing "ask the Holy Spirit for love" and I found myself saying, "I don't feel like loving right now, so I'm not going to ask." Just being honest. So I think I went down on my number instead of up. I'm still in agreement with what I said last week, we need the Holy Spirit to help us to love but we do need to ask even when we don't feel like it.

This week's fruit is joy. I've been thinking about the topic all week and I want to say joy is deep and wide and I am only going to skim the surface of it with what I've been thinking about.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

The Bible makes it pretty clear that joy is an essential to a successful walk in faith. People want to know what God's will is it's pretty simple: be joyful ALWAYS, pray continually, always give thanks! Yikes, not so easy is it? That is where the Holy Spirit comes in again. As I said last week, we need to invite the Holy Spirit to do what He is more than willing to do. Our flesh, as I experienced last week, wants nothing to do with God's way. It wants to rebel and say no. Joy in whatever circumstance you face I would surmise is impossible if you are not receiving it through the Holy Spirit. We don't have to be joyful at the circumstance, but joy is what gets us through the circumstance. Perhaps joy is the light that bring us through the darkness. My former Pastor Shane Holden said, "No matter how bad things get in this life, you always know that when this life is over we are going to heaven and then things don't look so bad." James said consider is pure joy because of what it will produce. Jesus, "endured the cross because of the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2)." He is our example of how to be joyful and we can only learn this kind of joy by fixing our eyes in Him.

The world views faith as a crutch for weak-minded people. They just don't see or understand, how tough it actually is to walk in God's way. He asks us to do some pretty hard things but guess what, He doesn't expect or ask us to do it on our own. Instead, He asks us to surrender to Him and allow Him to work and move through us to do the impossible. So this week work on inviting the Holy Spirit to bring joy into your life ~ no matter what circumstance you find yourself in at this moment in time.

Okay, so I said joy is complicated and deep. This is just one tiny facet of joy. I am passing along a sermon which hits it from a completely different angle but I personally found it very informative in understanding what joy actually is:

"Advent Joy" by Elliot Pollasch 11/30/08

In addition I blogged about this topic a couple weeks back: Joy

Finally, John Eldredge addresses joy a lot in his book Walking with God, so that's another place to begin diving deeper.

Oh, and you can always read the Bible: there are 248 verses containing the word joy!

So don't forget to write in your journal about where you are with the concept of joy, so you can look back over the upcoming weeks to see what you've learned.

Be blessed,

Daily Prayer

Disqus for For His Glory Alone


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