Am I Enough?

girl-918706_1280

This world can be so overwhelming.  Money, bills, relationships, responsibilities, they bombard me on a daily basis.  Am I doing all that I can?  Am I doing enough?  I desire to be 3 places at once.  Is it even possible to be a good employee, friend, girlfriend, daughter and Christian all at the same time?  I need to get in shape, I need to eat better, I need to spend more time on my relationships, I need to spend more time with God, etc, etc. Time feels like it is against me most days.  I feel like if I am succeeding in one role then I am desperately failing at the rest of them.  I see people who seem like they have it all figured out, somehow managing to do everything I can’t.  And I wonder, am I doing enough?

Am I enough?

There are two answers to that question.  The first answer is “no”.   We are sinful humans in need of a Savior.  We alone are not enough, we can try and try but we will always fall short in our humanity.  We will get stressed out, burned out and worn out.  But there is some good news, because of what God has done and is currently doing in each of your lives “no” does not have to be the final answer.  Because with Christ we are so much more than enough.  Without Him we are not enough, but with Him we are so much more than enough.

You are not just a pretty face, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.  You are loved by the King of Kings.  You may live here on this earth, but your home is in heaven.  When this world gets too much, when it wears you down, remember this:

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    

Psalm 139:13-14

God says He knew you before you were even born.  He said that you were fearfully and wonderfully made.  He has had a plan for you since day one.    Nothing in your life goes unnoticed.  He is there with you in the midst of the stress, He is with you everywhere.

The world will tell us that we are not enough, but God says “I am your enough”.  Are we willing to trust Him?  To accept that He is everything that We are not.  To believe that He is the answer to every one of life’s problems.  I challenge you friends to seek God in the midst of the mess.  As long as we rely on ourselves we will continue to fall short, only God can fill that void.

Let God be your enough today.

Lots of Love 💕,

Pure Hearts

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”  Matthew 5:8

In the dictionary the word Purity is defined as a “Freedom from adulteration or contamination. Freedom from immorality.”  There are so many contaminates in the world today,  and the sad thing is that less and less people are seeing them as contaminates.  They are being justified with “just be yourself”, “don’t judge me”, “I’m just following my heart” or “If it feels right then do it” attitudes.  We live in a “me” obsessed culture, where self-gratification runs rampant.
Unfortunately even the church is becoming a little desensitized to contamination.  Jesus did not die on the cross for us to live no differently than non-believers.  We are called to stand up and stand out not merely blend with the crowd.  Divorce, sexual immorality, lying, cheating, gossip, etc. has become a norm in both the church and the world around us.  Yes, I believe that God’s grace is sufficient, but I think we put way more emphasis on God forgiving our continual sin than actually changing our course. Grace is not a round trip ticket, it is a one-way ticket.  And the destination is Jesus. I think as a generation we are getting stuck in a vicious cycle.  We are doing everything we are supposed to do on the outside, but the problems are still there.  The sin is still there.  Somewhere along the road we got lost, our focus got blurry.  So what’s the root of the problem?  The Bible says it starts with the heart.
“For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.” Matthew 15:19
In order for our generation to experience revival we have to start in the heart.  Because unless we change the heart, the problem remains.  No amount of church services, worship music, Bible reading, etc. can change an impure heart.  I know because I have been there, I have had times where I would just get stuck.  It didn’t look like I was doing anything wrong on the outside, in fact I was doing everything right on the outside.  I was really good at playing the part that I was supposed to play, and you may be too.  But my heart was not in it, my heart did not match the lifestyle everyone else saw.  So where do we start?  Once again we can find our answer in the Bible.
Ask God to search your heart, and be open to what He reveals to you.  Because God may show you something that you did not even know was there, or maybe you forgot about it or avoided it so you hid it away.  We have to be willing to change, God will not just change our heart.  When He shows us a problem in our heart, we have to face it no matter how uncomfortable, painful or difficult.  Battles are won with opposition and determination, and this dear friend is a battle for your heart.
“Search me, 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.” Psalm 139:23-24

We now know what is wrong, we asked God to show us and He did. And We realize that in order to be pure of heart we have to change some things. This process will look different for everyone.  Things that have hurt you, things that you struggle with, etc. are not necessarily the same things that someone else may have to deal with.  Do not ever fall into the trap of comparison, your journey will never look like the journey of someone else.  Your progress will never be at the same rate of everyone else.  Some people after the discovery of a heart issue can simply drop it and never pick it up again, for others it is a long process.  But that does not mean that it can not be done.  Guarding your heart means eliminating the things that are causing or enabling a heart issue.  If you are in a relationship that is not honoring God, and the other person is not willing to address the problem then get out.  If your friends are inhibiting spiritual growth in your life then find new friends.  If the tv shows you are watching or the music you are listening to is shaping your worldview and it does not line up with the Bible then it is time to find something else to watch/listen to.  Nothing will change if nothing changes.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

The Bible says that everything we do comes starts in the heart.  Be careful what you let reside there, because it can only remain hidden for so long.  Choose wisely what you allow yourself to do, to think, to partake of and to be around.  We can look perfect on the outside but if our heart is dirty it is all in vain.  If you are having trouble removing things from your life then I ask that you seek accountability, someone that you trust to tell you what is best for you not what you want to hear.  It is great to have people in your life that do not “judge you”, but are those people actually helping you, are they looking out for your best interests?  People that care about you will want what is best for you and they will challenge you to be a better person.  So find those types of friends or maybe a mentor who you can be transparent with.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

Now that the hard part has been done we ask God to create in us a pure heart.  All you have to do is ask.  He has shown you what is wrong, you have sought the root of the problem, you are guarding your heart from contaminates, now allow Him to purify you.  No matter what you have done in that past you are never past the point of repair.  God can fix you, dust you off and purify you. He loves you so much,so much that He does not want you living in sin.  Sin will only feel good for so long, the only thing that follows is guilt and shame.  He never intended us to live with that, that is why He sent His son Jesus to die for us.  It was never our burden to bear.  God does not care how we look on the outside, He only cares about your heart.  And we are promised that the pure in heart will see Him.  So ask, guard and purify my friends.  It all comes down to your heart.

“But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord sees not as man sees for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Samuel 16:7

Lots of Love 💕,

Autumn Leaves

pumpkins-469577_1280

October is here, it is finally here!  I love October, the air gets crisp and cool, the world changes colors, football season (living in Alabama that in itself is a season all it’s own), Pumpkin flavored everything, and my birthday!  I just love it!  Anne of Green Gables said it best, ” I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”. Amen.

I also think there a lot of things that Autumn can teach us in regards to Christ.  Typically we get stuck in a rut during the summer.  We sleep late, we take vacations…too often we take spiritual vacations as well.  But I think Autumn comes along with it’s cool air and revives us awakens us to the wonders of God.  Who else could make something so beautiful? I want to present to you some things I think of When I compare Autumn to Christ.

Let Go

As the air gets cooler and the colors get brighter, the time comes for the leaves to let go.  If they do not let go then they cannot come back new in the spring.  They have to die in order to live, they have to let go of what they have been holding onto for so long in order to come back strong and new.  I think the same goes for us, we are coming out of season and with us we carry things, lots of things.  Things that hurt us, things that made us angry, choices we regret, and people we need to forgive ( or maybe we need to forgive ourselves).  We have to let go in this season in order to move to the next season.  Otherwise we get stuck and we can not grow, we stay weak.  Pruning is tough, it will hurt.  But unlike the hurt itself it does not keep hurting, only for a little bit.  But we have to submit, we have to allow the change to happen for God to work in our hearts to heal us and repair us.  In order to do that we have to fall, to let go and know that our heavenly Father knows what is best for us.  To trust that after the changing, the dying to self and the falling that we will return but so much stronger than before.  Because it is not the end, only a season that we find ourselves in.  God never forgets about his children.  So I encourage you to let go, to leave the past behind this Autumn and just fall,  fall in to the loving arms of our Lord.

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”  Isaiah 43:18

Accept the Seasons of Your Own Life

Autumn comes regardless of whether we are ready or not, it comes because it is time.  We can not stop it or postpone it, we can only prepare for it the best we know how.  Our life has seasons too, they come, they go and they shape us into who we are.  Some seasons are harder than others,  I recently came out of a pretty rough season.  It challenged me, but only after it knocked me down over and over.  Seasons are inevitable, all we can do is trust God and prepare the best we know how.  God will never give you more than you can handle, but sometimes He will get pretty close.  If life were easy we would not need God, but life is not easy and we do need Him.  I need Him, every single day.  I do not know what kind of season you are in right now, but I am here to tell you this:  That God is sovereign, He is in control and you already have you need to make it through this season because you have Him.  Seasons come and go, but God is forever.  Accept the season you are in and look to the Lord, your strength comes from Him and Him alone.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens”  Ecclesiastes 3:1 

Fallen Leaves

I compared us earlier to leaves..  We have to let go, and we have to accept where we are.  But it does not end there, we have to turn around and pick up those around us.  Those who are barely hanging on, or who have fallen and hit rock bottom.  Those people need us, i believe that everyone is hurting, but if we only focus on ourselves then how many are left there on the ground?  How many people fall and can not get back up?  That is your job, that is my job, everyone has a job to look out for those who can not help themselves.  We are to pick them up, dust them off and point them to Jesus.  Because only Jesus can help them, but we have to get them there.  Like in the new testament, when those friends wanted Jesus to heal their friend.  They cut a hole in the roof of the building Jesus was in because the house was so crowded (Mark 2:4).  The man needed Jesus, but he also needed someone to get him there.  We have to be that person for someone.  If as Christians we only look out for ourselves and we only hang out with those who have it all together, then everything we do is in vain.  Jesus did not come for the healthy He came for the sick.  We are to do the same.  Help those in need, those who have fallen, those who are hurting…that is what being a Christian is about.

“If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Ecclesiastes 4:10

Autumn is here, the Summer slump is over and we have a job to do.  If we continue to do the same things we will continue to get the same results, Autumn is our awakening the time to revive ourselves and to help revive others.  Do not get so caught up the festivities of the season that we neglect our spiritual well-being.  Autumn is a gift form God, but this gift comes with some responsibilities.  Happy fall dear friends!

Lots of Love 💕,

God is Good, Life Is Good

daisy-712898_1280

I am a very thoughtful person.  If allowed I could spend hours just sitting and thinking.  There are pros and cons to this, depending on if the thoughts are positive or negative.  Sometimes thinking stresses me out, especially when I think about my future and the unknown.  I sometimes find myself thinking about the past and how it got where I am today.  About the people who have come and gone, the impact, both negative and positive that they left on my life.  These thoughts leave me sad but also grateful because regardless of how those stories ended they made an impact on who I am today.  I think of the people God has given me in this season of life like my family, my boyfriend, my friends and my church family.  At the end of the day I come to one conclusion.  God is good, and He has given me a wonderful life.

“I will always thank the Lord;
    I will never stop praising Him.
 I will praise Him for what he has done” Psalm 34:1-2

Despite the hurt, the pain, the uncertainty, and the stupid choices I have made, God is good.  Not once did I fall and He not raise me up again.  Not one time has He not used a bad situation for good. Everything that has ever been stolen from me has been replaced with something better.  I do not understand everything that happens in my life but I do understand that God is good, all of the time. What has God done for you?  What mess has He used for good in your life?

How often do we associate a bad day with a bad life? Do not ever allow yourself to get so beaten down by the bad that you forget the good.  Every day that we wake up is a good day.  The only thing that can change that is a bad perspective.  Every day I deal with difficult people, and some days I just want to give up.  But I have to press on, because I know that God has a purpose for me and that those people were put in my life for a reason.  As much as it hurts I know that my lesson has not been learned yet, there is something God wants to teach me.  I believe that once I have learned that lesson, that this too shall pass and I can move to my next season. Will there be difficult people in that season?  Maybe, or maybe He will try to teach me something else. But this lesson is not in vain, I will carry what I learn into the next chapter. I do not know what this life holds, but I do know this, God is good.

 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 

My desire for you is to love your life.  We are not promised tomorrow, we only have today.  And if tomorrow comes there is nothing we can do to stop it, to prepare for it, or change it.  Embrace the bad, but lean on the good.  Because all in all it is a good life.  Do not get so caught up in tomorrow that you forget to be thankful for today.

Thankfulness is the key to joy.  A lack of joy is all too often a lack of thankfulness.  Thank God for what He has done and what he continues to do.  God is good, life is good.  So choose thankfulness every morning when you wake up.  It will change your day completely.  Love God and love People, if that is all that you do today then you lived it well.  Those actions, however small they seem make a giant impact on your life and the world around.  And if life gets tough, and it will, remember that God is good and life is good, no matter what.  Give thanks for this crazy, beautiful life He has given us!

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
    His love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34

Lots of Love 💕,

What’s Your Story?

What's Your Story-

Everyone has a story.  Our story is every word, every circumstance, every trial, and every triumph that has made us what we are today.  Without the good, the bad and the ugly we would not be the people we are today.  God has a story for us as well, and even the bad chapters He can work for His glory. This story is called our testimony.

I believe that our testimony is crucial to sharing Christ with others.  Jesus was perfect, but I believe that He uses our imperfect stories to show how great He is.  People may find it hard to connect with someone who has never been through the same things as them, but through our stories I believe that people can find Christ.

Our stories are powerful, they have the power to set someone free.  Never be ashamed of your testimony, I can guarantee that there is at least one person who needs to hear.  Most of my life I was lied to by the enemy that I did not have a testimony.  I grew up in a Christian home, I never partied, I did not a lot of the things that I heard in other people’s testimonies.  And because of this I discounted the good that God had done (and is still doing) in my life because my testimony was not “good enough”.  But my testimony is just as powerful as anyone else’s and God continues to show me my testimony.  As He reveals my testimony to me I hope to one day sit down, write it down and share it with you guys.  Because there is freedom in our testimony.

If you are like me and you do not know what your testimony is then I pray that you ask God to show you.  Pray that He will reveal what He has done in your life and how you can minister to others through it. Like I said someone needs YOUR testimony!  If you already know what God has done in your life then I challenge you to share it with others.  Tell someone…anyone.  The longer the enemy can keep your testimony a secret the longer he can use it against you.

Because of Christ your mess is now your message.  Tell someone where you were before Christ and where you have come since.  Pray for God to reveal your testimony, share it with someone and then write it down so that you never forget what God has done.

So, what’s your story?

“No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him.”  Luke 8:39

Lots of Love,

Fruit of the Spirit: The End of the Beginning

img_7027 (1)

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

Woah, hard to believe this series has already come and gone.  I have received such great responses from all of you and look forward to doing another series soon! If you have any ideas for another series or know of something you would like to see on “Coffee Breaks With Jesus” feel free to email me at: coffeebreakswithjesus@yahoo.com.  I love hearing from my followers and appreciate your input!

But before we move on I would like to take a few minutes and sum up everything we have talked about while studying the “Fruits of the Spirit”.

Our journey first led us to the fruit of Love.  We talked about how love is not about us, it is about others.  We choose love, it is not just a feeling that comes and goes. It is the conscious choice to love an imperfect person no matter what.  Love also stays in the present, it keeps no record of wrongs in the past.  It forgives and it moves forward.  We have the opportunity to show love to others because God first showed love to us.  God is love.  And we are to be more like God.

After love, we went on over to Joy.  First we detoxed, we talked about things that we could use less of in our life.  Things that can kill our joy, like comparison or discontentment.  No one’s life is perfect no matter how it may seem on instagram.  Next we need to stop and realize how much we already have. To choose thankfulness each and every day.  Our last point was only Jesus can bring you true joy.  He is the vine, we are the branches, remain close to the vine in order to grow and flourish in this life.

Peace, the world offers us comfort, but Jesus offers us peace.  Comfort is temporary, but peace is eternal.  Trusting God brings us peace because it removes the situation from our human hands and places them in the hands of an all-knowing God.  With this peace no matter what is going on in the world around us we can trust that we are going to be okay.  God is greater than the storms, and if He does not calm the storm He will calm His child.

Next we talked all about Patience.  I did you a huge favor and told you not to pray for patience, because God would only give you opportunities to choose patience!  Just kidding, but that is how God works sometimes.  First, we have to choose patience, especially when we really do not want to.  Secondly, we have to wait with a good attitude.  A negative attitude can make a small situation seem so much worse.  It also removes God and put us in charge, which is never a good idea.  Lastly, trust that good will comes to those who wait.  It may not be the answer you are looking for or happen when you want it to, but if you give it God you are guaranteed to come out of the waiting better that you went in.

Kindness, so easy yet so easily overlooked.  Kindness is free, it does not cost you anything to be nice to someone.  Consciously look for opportunities to show kindness.  Kindness takes practice, it will not always be the first response that comes to mind.  Treat others the way you would want them to treat you.  No one has shown kindness equivalent to what God has shown us.  Because of that we have a responsibility to show kindness to others so that they can come to know Him as well.

After kindness we talked about Goodness.   It is a commitment to do good and not evil.  Naturally we are sinful, not good, but if we spend a lot of time with God eventually His goodness will start to rub off on us.  Goodness also develops actions, the good in your heart begins to translate into good deeds.  It is inevitable because your love for God is so strong.  Do not give up doing good when you do not see immediate benefits.  Our rewards are in heaven and even if they go unnoticed on earth God sees each and every one of them!

Faithfulness is a loyalty to God, to His teaching and a life lived for Him.  Faithfulness comes with a lot of responsibility, but God will never give you more than you can handle.  Thanks to Jesus we have grace, our faith does not come by works but rather works are a product of our faith.  Every day we have to choose faithfulness, are we going to do what our flesh wants to what God wants?

Next we dove into Gentleness.   We talked about the importance of words and how they can damage or repair.  We are never to confuse gentleness with weakness.  We have a mighty power in us from God.  We are called to be bold, powerful and yet still gentle.  Gentleness is merely strength under control.  Like all the other fruits gentleness without action is pointless.  We are called to point others to Christ through our actions.

Last but not least we had Self-Control.  We talked about how even too much of a good thing can still be a bad thing and the importance of moderation.  Secondly, the importance our thoughts have on our actions.  Our thoughts become actions, so take captive your thoughts and filter them through God’s Word.  And lastly, the more of God I put in the less of me comes out.  I can try all day to have self-control but without Him I will always fall short.

I hope you enjoyed following this series as much as I enjoyed studying it.  I learned a lot and I am seeking God to develop more of these fruits in my life.  I find such joy in sharing my spiritual journey with each and every one of you.  God has given me a desire to write and as long as I am able I will continue to do so.  This is only the beginning!  Thank-you ♡

Lots of Love,

Fruit Of The Spirit: Self-Control.

7ff05e34b44f93ae47db8d6e75464c07

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

Ah, last but certainly not least we have reached the last fruit in Galatians, self-control.  Like patience, self-control is not a favorite of mine.  Because self control can be tough sometimes, especially when I want to eat a cupcake, but need to go to gym instead.  Saying “no” to self is not a very easy thing to do, saying “no” to others however I have no problem doing that.  Anyone else?  But self control is about us, not others.  So today we are going to examine ourselves and hopefully learn a little something about saying developing and practicing self-control.

Moderation Is Key

Self-control is not merely saying “no” all the time, it is also about moderation.  Whether it is food, internet, social media, etc. we could all use a little moderation in our life.  The best way I have found to use moderation in my own life is to not necessarily just remove something, but rather replace it with a better choice.  This works best when done gradually and not all at once.  Diets have a tendency to fail when you cut out every enjoyable piece of food all at once.  But gradually changing your eating habits would lead to greater results.  The same goes with other things in our life that we could use less of.  Self control must be practiced daily, and moderation is a great way to start.  I am not talking about sin here, but rather bad habits.  Moderation does not apply to sin, because no amount of sin is beneficial to your walk with Christ or living life to it’s fullest  But if you have a bad habit you would like to kick then begin to gradually replace and remove it.  Limit your time online,  add healthy food to your diet,  read a chapter in a book for every tv show you watch, just find a way to enjoy the things you like but in a healthy way.  Too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing.

“Do you like honey?
    Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick!” Proverbs 25:16

Captive Thoughts

Thoughts tend to be ignored because no one else knows what we are thinking.  But God knows our thoughts and He tells us to take them captive, to tell ourselves what to think, and to filter our thoughts through the Word of God.  This is very important because every action begins with a thought, good or bad.  Thoughts decide just about everything for us, and if we having bad thoughts eventually we will have bad actions.  It is inevitable.   You have to be conscious of what you are thinking and ask yourself these questions:  Is it good?  Is it pure?  Is it kind?  It is productive?  Does it contradict the Bible or God’s best for me?  If the answer to any of those is “no”, you need to remove that thought and think on something that does meet those requirements.  Do not let negative thoughts produce negative actions in your life.  Only you can choose what you think and what you put in your mind, practicing self-control on our thoughts equals practicing self control on our actions as well.  There is a quote I like, “We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.”  Thoughts are so important, choose wisely friends.

“We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Less of Me More of You

No one can help you more with self-control than God.  The more of Him you put in, the less of you comes out.  While we can do a lot to practice self-control, the best results come from just growing closer to God.  Spending time with God, and continuously choosing Him first strengthens your relationship with Him.  He gives us good desires, those produce good thoughts and those thoughts produce good actions.  God is the root of all of the fruits of the Spirit, He is the foundation.  I will continue to fail without God, I can use moderation, I am can try to think good thoughts and I can get advice from others, but without God this is pointless.  I need Him, you need Him, everyone needs Him. This relationships develops from prayer, reading the Bible, loving and serving others.  These things bring us closer to God and develop godly character in our lives.  We can do so much more for His kingdom when we seek first the kingdom.  The more like Him we are, the more others will want to be like Him too!

“He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”  John 3:30

“Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city. proverbs 16:32

Lots of Love,

Fruit Of The Spirit: Gentleness

8d464f4a2f80477c9eb68701a58169e7

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

Gentleness can also be translated as “meekness” but never to be confused with weakness.  Gentleness tends to be one of the fruits of the Spirit that I forget about.  Like I know it is there, but I just kind of read over it, anyone else?  But gentleness is just as important as the rest of the fruits. Gentleness is not about being weak or a victim, which is usually how people see it.  Gentleness is about putting others first, being thankful to God, and being kind/ polite to others.  It is love and kindness in action.  Once again the fruits are building upon each other, one leading to another.  Today we are going to talk about what Gentleness is and practical ways to practice it in our lives.

Gentle Words

Words…words are a BIG deal.  Our words help or hurt, no matter what we say no word goes from our mouth unnoticed. Our words can damage and destroy or they can uplift and heal.  We get to choose.  The Bible puts a lot of emphasis on our words and the effect that they have.  Think before you speak, you have probably heard that before most likely when you were a child.  Children are notorious for speaking their minds, no matter how it sounds.  But as adults we have to be more careful with our speech.  Is it kind?  Is it helpful?  Is it necessary?  How could this make this person feel?  There are lots of questions we should ask before we say something to or about someone.  Even among close friends we should be careful what we say about others.  Sometimes when we are comfortable around people we let our words slip a bit.  But gossiping with close friends or family is still gossip. If you would not say it to that person, you probably should not say it about that person.  Because regardless of whether that person heard you, God still heard you.  Not only should we stop and think about what we say, but we should examine how we say things.  Our tone or facial expressions tend to show our feelings even more that our words do.  If you feel your self getting angry or irritated, step away from the situation take a deep breathe, say a prayer and come back.  Gentleness is about showing love in all aspects including our speech, so think before you speak, if it meets the criteria then say it if not then don’t.

“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”  Proverbs 15:1

Gentle Giants 

Gentleness does not equal weakness.  People have this idea of Christians where we are all beat down and weak, where we are not allowed to stand up for ourselves because it is not “Christian” to do so.  But that is not the case, greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world (1 John 4:4)! Gentleness is merely strength under control.  We have power, a mighty power from God Himself.  In fact even in OUR weakness, HE is at His strongest.  We have nothing to fear.  We already have the victory, we are not fighting for victory we are fighting from victory.  I have read the last chapter I know how it ends.  So do not ever feel like being gentle means you are weak or should back down because it is the opposite of that.  Gentleness is being kind and loving, AND also being powerful.  It is literally the best of both worlds.  Do not walk around defeated in the name of Christ, that is not at all what He intended for us. Walk in power, love, kindness and gentleness.

Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.  But do this in a gentle and respectful way.  Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.  Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!” 1 Peter 3:15-17

Gentleness In Action

Gentleness allows us to be kind and loving to others.  It stays calm when emotions run high,  and to does the right thing when we do not feel like it.  People need to know that we care.  Hurting people are all around us and they desperately need someone to speak life into them and to treat them with gentleness.  Look for opportunities to help others, to offer a kind word, to do an act of kindness.  We need to set aside our pride and be the person that others need us to be, the person God wants us to be.  God is gentle with us, breathing life into us, choosing us even when we fall flat on our faces.  We have to be that for others.  We have to lift them up when they fall down, brush them off and leave them better that when we first met them.  Do not lose an opportunity to be a light to someone.  Correct with Kindness, not condemnation.  Realize that the person’s salvation is more important than our pride.  Accept that God is in charge and we have a mission to spread His love to others.  That is what gentleness is all about, pointing others to the love of God.

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”  Phillippians 4:5

 

Fruit Of The Spirit: Faithfulness

bbe7dee716e747e3043f77cc6fa5f624

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

We have reached the seventh fruit of the Spirit, Faithfulness.  Faithfulness is a loyalty to God, to His teaching and to a life lived for Him. The Bible talks a lot about God’s faithfulness to us.  He sets a perfect example of being faithful by never giving up on us.  In return we should remain faithful to Him.  But how can we remain faithful to God?  All too often being faithful to God for the wrong reasons can turn to religion, obligation or our “Christian duty”.  God does not want your faithfulness based on obligation, just like you do not want someone to nice things to you because they have to, or they are scared of you or because they have nothing “better” to do with their time.  Religion can quickly come in and make our faithfulness to God nothing but rules and obligations.  But is that really faithfulness at all?  Are we acting like servants or sons and daughters?  Today I want to look at some others ways and reasons to be faithful.

Faithfulness Comes With Great Responsibility

Uncle Ben from Spiderman said, “With great power comes great responsibility”.  The same goes with our relationship with God.  The closer we get to Him and the stronger our faith gets the more responsibility He gives us.  The less faithful we are, the less responsibility we have.  This being the case He will not give you more than you can handle.  We simply have to remain faithful and trust that God knows best and has the best for us no matter how our situation looks right now.  God has an amazing purpose for each and every one of us, but if we are still holding back we may never reach that purpose.  We have to take action and responsibility in order to grow.  Faithfulness comes from a strong desire to do right and the action to make it happen.  A desire is nothing without action. When we seek God and seek to grow in our faith we begin to see our human desires change.  Our desires change and become more like the desires God has for us.  Our desires become His desires.  Human relationships require a lot of responsibility, love and trust, without those things our relationships suffer.  When you love someone your desires are for them and for them only.  This is the responsibility we take on when we are in a committed relationship with someone, but when we love them this feels less like our responsibility and more like our natural desire.  It no longer feels like a responsibility because your desires have changed. The same goes with God the more committed and in love with Him we are the easier it is to remain faithful.  Not because it is our responsibility but because nothing else even comes close to what we have with Him.

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”  Luke 16:10

Faith With Works Not By Works

Religion has taught us that we must “do”, Jesus says “I have done.”.  When Jesus died on the cross He did away with the laws and regulations of the Old Testament.  His grace took the place of those laws, of animal sacrifices and of faith by works.  No amount of works will make God love you any more than He already does and no lack of works will make Him love you any less.  Because of grace we have faith with works, not faith by works.  While works are not required under grace,  a relationship with God can bring about the desire to do good works.  Like I mentioned about, the closer we get to God the more our desires change, and those desires produce actions.  Not because we need to earn God’s love, but because we already have it and desire to express it to the world around us.  Our good deeds are an expression of the love we have for God and others.  Faith produces actions.

“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”  James 2:17

Choosing Faithfulness Daily

Faithfulness is a daily choice.  Every day we have choices to make, we can do what is wrong or what is right.  Are we going to do what we want or what God wants is a daily struggle?  How can we make the right choice to remain faithful to God when the wrong choices look so tempting?  In order to make good choices we have to stay in communication with God through pray.  Stay prayed up, you start to feel tempted, pray!  You start to have doubts, pray.  Your emotions try to get the best of you, pray.  When you do not know what to do, stop and pray!  He will hear your prayers and He will speak to you too, you just have to listen.  Which means taking the time to be still, to listen.  How can you hear God when you are doing all the talking?  Pray, but also listen.  Also you can stay in His Word, read it, study it and apply it.  That is another way that God has already spoken to us, we just have to read it.  Remaining faithful requires remaining close to God.  He will change you inside out if you will let Him.  Put your faith to action by growing closer to God, it will change your life!

Lots of Love,

Fruit Of The Spirit: Goodness

2915be378762f25238fc384f50ee6098

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

  We use the word “good” a lot to describe something that meets a particular standard for us.  It was a good movie, the food was good, I had a good time…etc.  My good may not be the same as your good because we all have different standards for everything.  So how can we all have goodness, if the word good means something different to each of us? The Greek word translated “goodness,” agathosune, is defined as “uprightness of heart and life.”  Goodness is a way of life. But who sets that Standard?There is no better standard for goodness than the one God gives us in the Bible.   Goodness is a commitment to do good not evil.  God does no evil therefore He is good and He wants us to be more like Him.  Being good helps us to be kind, patient and forgiving to others.   How can we develop goodness in our lives?

Goodness Comes From God

We are not naturally good, naturally we are full of sin.  By ourselves we can never be good, that’s why God sent Jesus to die for us.  Jesus dying for our sins, cleared our records and put us in right standing with God.  Before Jesus people had only the law which was impossible to obey 100%.  Grace did away with the law allowing nothing to stand between us and God.  This relationship with Him is the first step to developing not just goodness, but all of the fruits of the spirit.  And to be more like God we have to spend more time with Him.  Ever had a friend or family member that you spent a lot of time with and suddenly you found your self doing and saying the same things as them?  They were rubbing off on you.  The same happens when we spend a lot of time with God, you will begin to develop goodness from growing closer to God.  Your heart changes, your thoughts change, eventually you change!  You can not have good without God because just like James 1:17 says, whatever is good comes from God.

“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.  He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” James 1:17

Goodness = Action

Goodness requires practice, practice comes through action.  We can not develop goodness by simply not doing evil.  We have to replace it with good.  This again I believe comes from knowing God better.  When we love someone we want to do good things for them the same comes from our relationship with God.  Good works are not a requirement for love or salvation but rather something we do because we love God and want to share that love with others.  Nothing can make God love you any more of less but your good works do not go unnoticed.  God will greatly bless those who serve Him by serving others.  This includes doing good to everyone, if we only do good to those are who good to us we are merely returning a favor.  Doing good and not getting anything in return or doing good to someone who is not kind can be much more challenging.  But God sees your efforts and those efforts develop goodness in your life.

“Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.” 3 John 1:11

Do Not Grow Weary

Being a Christian is not always easy.  Sometimes is feels like the whole world is against you, we are often mocked by the people around us, the media, etc.  People complicate the gospel in the church, we feel condemned or unworthy, time and time again the gospel is twisted and distorted by man.  It is easy to feel down, to feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel and for some people it sometimes feels easier to just walk away.  But I want to encourage you dear friends not to give up, God has not forgotten us.  Life may never get easier here on this earth, we might never see the results of our good work.  But do not give up, our reward is heaven.  Continue to do good, you are making a difference even it feels like you are not.  Goodness is planted with God, grown with action and ripens by determination!  You have got this, you are not alone, and in due time you will see the results of doing good, if not here then with our Father in heaven.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith”  Galatians 6:9-10

Lots of Love,