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Fruit of the Spirit – JOY

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” 
Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

Carving on a log bench at Moseley Bog, Birmingham, UK.

I am, by nature, a joyful person. But some days I wake up and I can feel something is off. Even after my first cup of coffee my joy seems like an object just beyond my grasp. And then my kids wake up. They act like their normal, crazy, whiney, toddler selves (no, my kids do not whine all the time, but yes, they whine on a consistent basis), and because of my mood they seem to push all the wrong buttons. My joy seems to be driven farther and farther away.

I believe the Holy Spirit allows us to recognize moods like this so we can also recognize we have a choice: continue down the path of a joyless, impatient, frustrating day, or hit the reset button. For me hitting the reset button looks something like this: picking a worship song and locking myself in my bathroom or closet for two minutes while I blare the music as loud as a my phone will allow (my kids will survive, the house may not, but in faith I choose to believe my kids will survive). Sometimes I shout the lyrics to get my frustration out. Sometimes I simply kneel in surrender. Whatever it is, I do something to turn my focus back on Jesus and off of my mood. I may not walk out of the closet smiling and laughing like everything is peachy-keen all of a sudden, but I do walk out knowing I serve a God who is faithful, who loves me, and who provides His strength in my weakness.

In the book of Nehemiah, He tells the Israelites to not be mournful, for the joy of the Lord will be their strength. I encourage you today to take a minute and reflect upon a tool that helps you remain rooted and joyful in the Lord. Make it a habit to use that tool frequently. This world is full of things that can easily steal our joy, determine to remain rooted in Christ. He will be your strength.

God bless!

Noree Wegmeyer

 

 

Photo Credit:   https://www.freeimages.com/photo/joy-1537988

 

Fruit of the Spirit – LOVE

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” 
Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

Happy New Year! I’d like to start this year by doing a series on the fruit of the Spirit. Each fruit could be a series in and of themselves! Each one is jam packed with marvelous truths and applications regarding the Truth of God and His will for our lives. While there isn’t space to expound so deeply, my prayer is that you will be challenged to go deeper yourselves as to how you can live out each fruit to grow more intimately in love with God. Let’s dive in.  

I believe Hollywood has deluded us with thoughts of love. We watch as women are romantically and passionately swept off their feet, as men are finally made whole through the love of the right woman, as flowers are sent, giggles are voiced, and the honeymoon stage never ends. We have fallen in love with a “love delusion.” But what about the love that crawls out of bed at 2am to rock a sick child after cleaning up their vomit filled room? What about the love that stands by a partners’ bed as cancer ravages their body because you are in it “for better or for worse,”? What about the love that takes the time to make an extra meal for a neighbor, despite your kids screaming in the background, because your neighbor is going through a rough patch? Philippians 2:5-8 tells us that although Jesus was in the form of God, He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. He therefore emptied Himself, took on the role of a servant, and died on the cross in our place. THAT is true love my friend. Jesus did not live to be self-centered. He came to be selfless, to empty Himself so you and I could come into right standing with God.

Take a moment and ask God how you can grow more in love with Him this year. Does He want you to read His Word more regularly; have a daily, intimate prayer time with Him to be still and listen; take more time to surround yourself with worship music? Then take a moment to reflect on how you can live out God’s love more practically towards those around you. Practical evangelism is a marvelous tool! When done with the intentionality of extending God’s love, every practical deed is a seed being sown.

God bless!

Noree Wegmeyer

Photo Credit:   https://pixabay.com/en/heart-love-romance-valentine-700141/

Judge Not!

“Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and He will apply to you the same rules you apply to others”.
Matthew 7:1-2 GNT

As I rounded the corner while on my morning walk in the neighborhood, a car came barreling out of its driveway like a crazy person. Another car had just turned onto the street, saw the car, and stopped, patiently waiting for the speedy car to go on its way. My first thoughts were, “How rude! Man, they need to slow down before someone gets hurt! Some people care about nothing but themselves driving like that in this subdivision!”

The rushing car, with dark tinted windows, sped down the street and was gone. It all happened so fast; I couldn’t tell you who was in the car, how many were in the car, what they looked like, nothing. All I know is that I heaped lots of judgmental and critical thoughts upon them for a few seconds.

The waiting car proceeded on its way, and suddenly I felt the prick of the Holy Spirit in my heart. The driver had chosen to be kind and thoughtful to the rushing individual. No obscene gestures or look of disgust were made as they slowly drove by me. In fact, they had exhibited the loving character of Christ in their actions.

I felt ashamed of my critical feelings. What did I know about the scenario? Absolutely nothing. The person in a hurry may have overslept and was running late for work. Maybe someone was ill and needed medical attention. What if there had just been a heated argument, or worse yet, abuse of some kind, and the driver needed to flee? What if they were just being careless and thoughtless? Either way, it was not my place to judge. It was my place to show the love of Jesus without condemnation. I had failed.

As I continued my pace, all kind of thoughts filled my head. How would I have wanted others to treat me if I had been the hasty driver? What good had it done me to make assumptions and judgments that were unjustified? Why did I have those opinions in the first place?

The rest of my walk consisted of humble confession and quiet contemplation of my actions. I had learned a valuable lesson about not judging. What an amazing God we serve who loves us unconditionally, knows our hearts better than we know it ourselves, and is quick to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He alone is the great Judge and transformer of our hearts and minds. [Digging deeper – Matthew 7:1-5, 12; Romans 2:1-3, 12:21, 14:10-13; 1 Peter 2:23]

Walking free of judgment,

Beverly <><

Photo Credit: free public domain photo