In 2 Tim. 1:6, Paul said to Timothy, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands”. Why would Paul have to remind Timothy to stir it up? Could it be that it can get lost under all the fears, the worries, the anxieties, the problems, the negative circumstances and the negative people of life. And if you’re not careful, that gift of God, that power and presence from God, can get buried under several pages of bad news reports, or problems at the office and home, or fights with a spouse or friend. And pretty soon everything God has put in you is buried. Paul says, “Stir up the gift of God that is within you!” If when you look at your life you feel you only see the yogurt, then just stir it up and you’ll find “the fruit” (Holy Spirit). Let’s fan into flames the gift that’s in us.
Aryn and I are in Chicago O’Hare again this morning and we were on a smile:) mission. As we sat enjoying our Starbucks…me a skinny Caramel Machiatto and Aryn a hot chocolate and muffin, we once again noticed that no matter how hard we tried, people would not smile. It was as if when smiled to, they were staring into the face of aliens from Mars (or Venus if you please)! We decided to make a sign on the back of our Starbucks bag. It simply read per Aryn’s dictation, “Keep on Smiling!” She sat smiling and holding the sign. We started counting the smiles and even counted a half smile. When our 9 1/2 smiler came across our path, we noticed that she was intently paying attention to the fact that we counted her. She kept going and about two minutes came back in our direction. She came over to us and told us that we had made her day. She said she wanted us to know that this little action made a significant impact on her day and that little things matter BIG. She asked if she could take Aryn’s picture because she wanted to share it with her friends too and brighten their day! Yes! One person’s day made, Mission Accomplished!!!
P.S. Of the thousands that walked by…only 30 and a half smiles!:)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Following the list of 17 works of the flesh-which, if practiced, will prohibit us from inheriting the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21) -are the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit. As I was reading this the other day, I began to think about how God develops these fruit in our lives.
Jesus said, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matt. 7:16, 19). Many times the nine fruits of the Spirit are developed and brought to perfection through contrasting and opposing forces. Jesus says, “Every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2). Often times through trials and bitter life experiences, God prunes and purges us to bring forth fruit, or more fruit. This is what God showed me concerning the development of these 9 fruit in our lives.
(1) Love is cultivated through loving those who hate, spitefully use and persecute you.
(2) Joy is developed by those who pass through the valley of Baca (sorrow) and make it a spring.
(3) Peace comes to maturity when you cast your cares on Jesus in the midst of confusion or life storms.
(4) Longsuffering/Patience can only be formed through overcoming very long and difficult trials.
(5) Kindness shines forth in the midst of the rude, uncouth, ungrateful and unthankful.
(6) Goodness manifests amongst the wicked with their cruel and deceitful acts.
(7) Faithfulness is at its best when confronted by the failure and betrayal of those we trust the most.
(8) Gentleness is developed when confronted by anger to which one does not respond to.
(9) Self-control is the discipline you exercise as you are tempted by unrestrained lust, passions and desires.
God is not only interested in the big things that concern you; He is interested in the little things too. Sometimes we may think, “This problem is too small to bother God with.” “God is only interested in big things.” But God really is interested in the little things that trouble us. The Bible says that He knows about the little sparrow that falls to the ground (Matt. 10:29). He knows how many hairs we have on our heads.
What a great God we serve. He delights to take all of our yokes and all of our burdens and give us yokes that are easy and burdens that are light. God desires to not only meet the needs of his children, but to hear the needs of his children. Even though he knows them before we make mention of them, He desires to hear each one.
Recently, I spoke a message at our church of how in my early years of ministry I had what I called a Messiah complex. A complex that said, I need to be able to fix every issue, hear every request, meet every need no matter how small or how big. During that message to our church, I shared how I realized that I can’t carry or care for all those things that the church body has need of.
Now, some may think that I was saying that I don’t care. But really nothing could be farther from the truth. What I was and am saying, is only God can carry the cares and burdens of his children. That’s the way he wants it, that’s the way he desires it and that’s the way he designed it.
In Exodus it says that Jethro came to Moses and said you need to appoint leaders over the people to hear their request because you can’t do it all. Moses was a great pastor, but even he couldn’t meet the needs of all the people. That’s why the bible says in Eph. 4 that growth comes to the body of Christ when every ligament is doing its share.
Hebrews says, “Let Us come boldly to the THRONE OF GRACE…that we might find help in our time of need.” God has what all of us need. He can carry all of our issues in life.
Casting our cares on those around us or those we think are spiritual will never do what is needed. But casting our cares upon the lord is not only biblical it is life changing.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. Jeremiah 17:7
The key to success and victory in life is not in ourselves but in God. David was a shepherd boy, unskilled in the weapons of war, but he defeated Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, with a single sling shot. He was not a professional musician in the temple of God, but he wrote most of the psalms in the Bible. He was not of royal lineage, but he went on to become the greatest king Israel ever had. What was the secret of his greatness? It was his dependence and his trust in God. David cried, “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water” (Ps. 63:1). Read More
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5
The eternal, universal principle remains: “To get to the top, we must reach for the bottom”. “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matt. 23:12). The lower down I go, the higher up God will lift me. The lesser I have in myself, the more I receive from God. It is when I am weak in my flesh that I become strong in the spirit.
D.L. Moody once said, “As a young man, I used to think that God’s best gift is placed on the highest shelf and what I needed to do is simply to reach up. But not so now. I have learned that God’s best gift is on the lowest shelf. To get it, I have to stoop down.” Read More
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1
Bible names are very telling about a person’s nature and character. God reveals His names to show us who He is, what He is like, and how He longs to work in our lives. One of the names of God is Jehovah Rohi or “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Rohi is often translated as a companion or friend, implying a very personal and intimate relationship. No wonder David starts Psalm 23 with “The LORD is my shepherd.” He could have said that “the LORD is our shepherd” but he didn’t. What David had was an individual, direct, personal relationship with God.
Another meaning of Rohi is the feeder of flocks. God provides all the spiritual nourishment that you and I need: David went on to say, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters” (23:2).
As a good shepherd, the Lord restores the soul of the broken and weary (23:3). When we are hurt and devastated, He puts us back in the right condition. He refreshes and renews our innermost being. He is our spiritual compass who constantly shows us the right way. We never need to feel confused and uncertain in life with such a “Great Shepherd.”
There are going to be times when bad things happen to us. Everything seems to cave in on us and we just don’t know which way to turn and whom to trust. But, like David, we never need to fear because God’s presence is guaranteed. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (23:4). What a Great Shepherd!
The other day after setting with a pre-married couple and doing some counseling; I began to think about how we love God. I was telling Djuana (my Wife) after wards that it is so easy to fall into the trap of saying we love God, but having the actions that say we love ourselves.
If you were to ask someone if they loved God, they’d almost automatically reply, “Of course I love the Lord with all my heart.” Every day in churches and all around the world, people say, “Lord, I love you. Oh, Jesus I love you.” However, loving God is not just a religious quote we say to make people think we love God.
In order to love God, we must first renew our mind where love is concerned. When many people think of love, they think of human, emotional love, which is basically selfish because it has conditions; it loves when the conditions are right, or when it feels like loving. This is the type of love many people try to love God with. However, God is not interested in us loving Him with our feelings.
I have often been asked the question of, “what is a non-denominational church?” Maybe you’ve wondered what a non-denominational church is. What do they believe? Why are they the fastest growing churches in America today? The assumptions that many have about non-denominational churches are very broad. I can remember once someone thought we were from a different culture because of a logo of the world we had on our sign out front. I can recall someone not believing we were a church because of our building not being the typical church building. All have been far from the truth.
Being a non-denominational Christian church simply means Read More
Many believers have made the mistake of putting the “cart before the horse” when it comes to the promises of God. They are quick to step out on faith, not realizing that faith only works by love (Galatians 5:6). It doesn’t matter how many scriptures you stand on, how hard you pray or how much seed you sow; your heart’s desires will not manifest themselves in your life if you have not first cultivated the fruit of love. Read More