God of All

Do you realize that God wants to be as intimately involved in your life as He was in the lives of those recorded in scripture? A friend recently pointed out how reassuring it was knowing that we serve the same God whom Abraham, Isaac and Jacob served. This knowledge can be a validation for who God is. It may even give you a reason to trust God.

While thinking about some of these men and women of faith, we will highlight how God intervened in their lives. Then we will think about how we can relate to these individuals.

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
These men are often referred to as the patriarchs of our faith. God cares about families and lineage and heritage. God first revealed Himself as the God of these three men when He spoke to Moses through a burning bush. God said in Exodus 3:6, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
God cares about your family. Do you have grandparents and parents who set a Christian example for you? Thank God for them! Maybe you are the first one in your ancestry to become a believer. Blaze the trail for future generations.

Moses and Joshua
God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery. Joshua was their leader when they entered the Promised Land.
Who has God used to lead you to Jesus and out of sin’s bondage? Who may become a believer in the promises of God because of your influence?

Ruth
Ruth was a Moabite. She did not believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Because of the influence of her mother-in-law, Naomi, Ruth became a believer. She says in Ruth 1:16, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.
As a believer, you are a witness for Christ. You may be unaware of your influence upon those around you. Is there someone specific to whom you are called to be a witness?

Isaiah and Jeremiah
These two men are examples of the Old Testament prophets. Prophets foretell and forth tell words of the Lord.
Prophecy is one of the nine gifts of the Spirit listed in I Corinthians 12:8-11. Do you have the gift of prophecy? If so, use it according to Romans 12:6. Paul says in Ephesians 4:1, “I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling you have received.

Sarah, Hannah and Elizabeth
T
hese women had trouble conceiving a child. However, over time, God was faithful to answer their prayers.
Conception problems can be either physical or spiritual. Is there an area in your life where you are struggling to give birth to something new? Be encouraged by how God intervened in these women’s lives.

Mary the Mother of Jesus
An angel appeared to Mary and told her that she would give birth to a son named Jesus. Although Mary did not completely understand all that was happening or the significance of it, she carried Jesus within her body for nine months.
Have you asked Jesus into your heart but still have things of faith you do not understand? Just as Jesus grew in Mary’s body, your faith will also grow with time.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
These men are the authors of the four gospels. They wrote about the stories of Jesus’ earthly life. Their messages tell a spiritual history.
Your story, your testimony, tells His story in your life. It is your spiritual history. Your story becomes HIStory. Revelation 12:11 says, “They (believers) triumphed over him (satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.

Saul/Paul
This man’s story begins in the book of Acts. He was first named Saul, but later was known as Paul. Both his nature and name were changed when he encountered Jesus on his way to Damascus. He went from persecuting Christians to proclaiming Christ.
May you never quit praying for family and friends to personally encounter the Lord. Lives can be changed. Jeremiah 32:17 says, “Ah, Sovereign LORD, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You.

Ephesians 4:4-5 says, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” God is God and Father of us all! Just as God was God of each of these Biblical people, He wants to be Lord of your life. With which individual do you most identity? Which person gives you the hope that God is with you and understands your situation?

According to Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” God wants to minister to you. He is alive. God knows everything – He is omniscient. God is in everything – He is omnipresent. God is working – He is omnipotent. All fo us learn of His faithfulness through stories recorded in His written word. What He has done in the past, He will continue to do.

May your faith and your confidence in God grow as you meditate upon what He has done for those who have gone before us. Hebrews 12:1 encourages us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

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Mary and Martha’s Prayer

While reading the account of Lazarus’ death and new life in John 11, I gained a deeper understanding of prayer.

Previously, we have been introduced to the family of Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. They were Jesus’ friends. He often visited at their home. They had a personal relationship with Jesus. John 11 begins by telling us that Lazarus is sick – very sick. Mary and Martha wanted Jesus to know what was happening.

Verse 3 says, “So the sisters sent word to Jesus. ‘Lord, the one You love is sick.’” When Mary and Martha sent this message to Jesus, they were praying. (Most everyone who has a personal relationship with Jesus prays. At the very least, we cry out to God during our times of need.)

Time progresses and the story progresses. Although Jesus received the message, He did not respond as Mary and Martha expected. Jesus did not come to them. Verse 6 says, “So when He (Jesus) heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days.” Not a quick response to Mary and Martha. (All of us know what it is to wait for answers to prayer.)

Jesus says in verse 7, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory…” Jesus got the message, but He had other plans. (Have you ever prayed a prayer that was answered differently than you expected? Of course – all of us have! However, God’s glory should always be our motive.)

I wonder how the sisters were feeling two days later. One may have asked, “Why hasn’t Jesus come? What is taking Him so long?” Or, the other one may have said, “I thought Jesus loved us. Maybe He doesn’t care about us as much as we imagined.” (Have you ever made such remarks when a prayer you prayed was not answered immediately?)

It is interesting that Jesus says to His disciples in verse 15, “and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.” Jesus desired to deepen the faith of His disciples as well as that of Mary and Martha through His answer to their request. Jesus had a greater truth to reveal than just healing Lazarus from his sickness. Jesus was not in a hurry. He knew how and when He would respond. Mary and Martha’s expectations of how Jesus would respond had to die as well as Lazarus had to die. (God may have more in store for us than we realize when we pray. Do not limit God by expecting Him to only answer as you desire.)

Lazarus died. Jesus had not arrived yet. But, He does eventually come. Verse 17 says, “On His arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.” (Have you ever felt like it was too late for Jesus to answer your prayer?)

Martha is the first sister to meet Jesus when He finally comes. Her first words to Jesus are recorded in verse 21, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” (Notice Martha’s words “but” and “if”. Have you ever used these words when questioning or explaining something about your faith?)

Although Martha did not completely understanding all Jesus was saying and doing, she still believed. I think she passed a test of faith.  And, Jesus had more to reveal to her. (We, too, must keep our faith and not doubt.)

Mary then arrives on the scene. Her greeting in verse 32 is, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Sounds familiar! Mary’s words are the same as Martha’s words. It is not that she does not believe, she just limits God. (Beware! It is very possible that we have not interpreted Jesus’ words and promises correctly or with full understanding. He is able to do so much more than we can ask or think.)

The next verse that catches my attention is verse 35, “Jesus wept.” Shortest verse in the Bible. Why did Jesus weep? In verse 36 the Jews say, “See how much He loved him!” Although this statement is true, I believe Jesus wept for additional reasons. I think He was sorrowful that those around Him were not able to understand all He could do – all He was still going to do. (Have you caused Jesus to weep because of your limited understanding or expectations?)

We are nearing the climax of the story. In verse 39, Jesus says, “Take away the stone.” The stone in front of the grave hindered Jesus from doing what He was about to do. (Are there any stones you need to remove before Jesus can fully answer a prayer you continue to pray?)

Jesus prays in verse 41, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I know that You always hear Me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that You sent Me.” (Jesus gives us the example of how we are to pray. We are to thank God for what He is going to do – not just thank Him after we have received the answer.)

In verse 43 Jesus commands, “Lazarus, come out!” Finally Mary and Martha receive their answer to the message they sent to Jesus at the beginning of the chapter! Lazarus is not merely healed but brought back to life. A greater miracle than either sister could have requested. (Yes, God answers our prayers – not always when and how we want, but in the way that most glorifies Him.)

Jesus makes on final statement in verse 44. “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” There was still something for those surrounding Mary, Martha and Lazarus to do. Lazarus was alive but he needed the help of others to freely walk in the life given to him. (I think God requires us to be stewards of the answered prayers and miracles we receive. He may want us to help the person who has benefited from our prayers. Maybe we are to share the testimony of how God has answered our prayers.)

This account of Lazarus, Mary and Martha, is a wonderful miracle in and of itself. However God also has a message for us regarding prayer. Meditate upon what I have shared. See if it applies to you.

Impossible Becomes I AM Possible

Imagine a little 2 year-old boy trying to tie his shoes. It is impossible! Dad comes along and ties the shoes for his son. It is possible.

Open your Bible to Mark 10:17-27 and read the account of the rich young man who wanted to inherit eternal life. It was impossible. Then read John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.It is possible.

Mark 10:27 says, “With man this is impossible but not with God; all things are possible with God.Matthew 19:26 makes the same statement.

In Luke 1:26-38, an angel told Mary she would have a son. Impossible – Mary was not yet married. However, Gabriel explained this would be possible when the Holy Spirit came upon her. Luke 1:37 NLT says, “For nothing is impossible with God.

Similar statements are found in the Old Testament. In Genesis 18:24, the question “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” is asked concerning Sarah’s ability to have a child. It seemed impossible because of Abraham’s and Sarah’s ages. However, it was possible because God was in control.

Jeremiah begins his prayer in Jeremiah 32:17 NASB proclaiming, “Ah, LORD God, Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You.

With man, impossible. With God, possible.

Possible” is defined as able to be done. If something is possible, it means there is the power or capacity for it to be accomplished. If something is possible, it is attainable or achievable. When the prefix “im” is added to possible, the meaning completely changes. Now it means something cannot be done or achieved.

I want to have some fun with the word “impossible” and make a spiritual application. Instead of thinking of “im” as a prefix meaning “not”, I am reminded of the contraction “I’m” for “I am”. Taking it one spiritual step further, I think of the name for God as I AM. In Exodus 3:14, God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” The impossible becomes possible when God, the great I AM, is involved!

Since it is impossible with men and only possible with God, where are we? Are we left in the realm of impossibilities? Definitely not!

Jesus says in John 14:16, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever.Just as the little boy’s father helped his son tie his shoes, Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit as our Helper. The Holy Spirit helps us do what is impossible in our own strength.

Paul shares about pleading to have his thorn in his flesh removed in II Corinthians 12:8-10. “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.What Paul thought was impossible to endure became possible when the Lord helped.

Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.The limitations of our minds can make it impossible for us to know how to pray. However, the Holy Spirit prays on our behalf. Once again, the impossible becomes possible.

God helped Moses, Isaiah and Paul comprehend how the impossible could become possible. Moses declares in Exodus 15:2 NLT, “The LORD is my strength and my song; He has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise Him–my father’s God, and I will exalt Him!The Lord says in Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.Paul proclaims in Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

Now for a personal application. I Chronicles 16:11declares, “Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always.” Then, II Chronicles 20:15 reminds me that “the battle is not mine, but God’s.If the battle were mine, I would probably lose. However, when the battle is the Lord’s, it is possible to win. He will help me achieve victory over any area where I struggle. Nothing is impossible for God!

Since what seems impossible to us is not impossible with God, let us ask Romans 8:31. “If God is for us, who can be against us?No one! Romans 8:37 tells us, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.Being conquerors, implies possibilities rather than impossibilities. I want to echo the words of Paul in Ephesians 3:20 NLT, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Listen to Joshua 1:9. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.Declare the words Job spoke to the Lord in Job 42:2 NLT, I know that You can do anything, and no one can stop You.” There is nothing impossible for God. Invite God, the great I AM, into your impossible situations.

How can we move from the realm of impossibilities to the realm of possibilities? Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.Living by faith not only pleases God but allows Him to do the impossible for us.

Paul says in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!Remember to rejoice because I AM makes the impossibilities possibilities.

Let us close by reciting the words of Nothing Is Impossible. Sing along if you know the melody.

Nothing Is Impossible
Through You
I can do anything
I can do all things
Cause it’s You who gives me strength
Nothing is impossible
Through You
Blind eyes are opened
Strongholds are broken
I am living by faith
Nothing is impossible!

I’m not gonna live by what I see
I’m not gonna live by what I feel

Deep down I
Know that You’re here with me
I know that, You can do anything

I believe, I believe
I believe, I believe in You

 

 

 

 

 

Gates: In and Out

I paused when I read Jesus’ words in John 10:9. “I am the gate.While I meditated upon these words, I also reflected upon my childhood experiences with a gate. Two gates. Did the gate have a similar function in both instances?

A gate allows for entrances and exits.

While growing up, we lived on a farm. Our home and surrounding yard were enclosed by a fence. The fence had a gate. The purpose of the gate was to keep children in and chickens out. Children benefited from the safety of a smaller space on a big farm. While chickens needed to roam freely, we did not want them destroyubg flowerbeds near the house.

Children in and chickens out. How does this apply to Jesus?

To fully understand the function of Jesus as a gate, we need to continue reading Jesus’ words in John 10:9. “I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved.

I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He (Jesus) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” When we are purified of unrighteousness, sin is out! In addition to forgiving our sins, Jesus also functions as a gate keeping sin out. Sin and chickens out!

Ephesians 1:13 says, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.Ephesians 5:18 goes on to say, “Be filled with the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit lives within us when we enter through the gate of Christ. Holy Spirit and children in!

Let’s think about what we want to keep within our lives and what we want to throw out when Jesus is the gate to our hearts.

Out with religion and in with relationship. We experience more intimacy with Jesus when we allow Him to be the gate of our heart. Our faith is no longer simply based upon obeying religious laws.

Our soul is composed of mind, will and emotions. All three are affected when Jesus is our gate.

According to I Corinthians 2:16, we can have the mind of Christ. This is possible when Jesus is the gate protecting our minds. I Corinthians 2:14 KNJV tells us “the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him.However, verse 10 says that God reveals things to us by His Spirit. So, out with the natural mind and in with the spiritual mind.

Our will undergoes a change from “mine” to “Thine” when Jesus is our gate. Jesus taught us to pray to our Heavenly Father in Matthew 6:10, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.We must let go of our selfish desires and yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  This requires humility. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves.Romans 12:16 simply warns, “Do not be proud.” Ephesians 4:2 exhorts us, “Be completely humble and gentle.Out with pride and in with humility.

Our emotions are also affected when we allow Jesus to be our gate. Negative emotions must be replaced with positive ones. We want to kick out worry and fear. Philippians 4:6-7 NLT says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.. . . Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.Jesus says in John 14:27 NLT, I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. . . . So don’t be troubled or afraid.Then I John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.Worry out and peace in. Fear out and love in.

As a child, I thought it was fun to swing back and forth on our farm gate. This activity defeated the gate’s purpose. Proverbs 4:23 NLT says, “Guard your heart above all else.Make sure Jesus, the gate, is in control of what enters and exists your heart. What we allow to enter our mind, will and emotions affects our spiritual life. Let us keep Jesus in our heart and listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Bible warns us about vacillating (swinging back and forth) in our faith. Mark 11:23 encourages us not to doubt in our heart but believe.

Whether thinking about physical or spiritual structures, we always enter and exit through gates. Physical gates remind me that Jesus is our spiritual gate. A physical gate provides for children in and chickens out. A spiritual gate keeps sin out and allows the Holy Spirit in. Let’s keep our gates in place.

Frequency

Have you ever heard someone make a comment such as “God told me…”? How did it make you feel? Did you feel like this person was speaking authentically or were you intimidated by someone thinking they could actually hear God speak?

Maybe you have been the person who has said “I heard God say…” Were you speaking these words literally or spiritually? What did you hear and how did you hear it?

Is it truly possible to hear God’s audible voice speak words? Yes, I believe it is. However, I also believe God speaks in many additional ways. Just because you have not heard His audible voice, does not mean you have not heard God speak. I believe God is always speaking in some way. But, are we always hearing?

I will often say that God has revealed something to me. He speaks to me through an impression rather than audible words. For example, I may be typing a blog post and all of a sudden I will realize I am typing words that were not part of my original idea. I wonder, “Where did that come from?” I realize it came from God. I was attuned to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

God is spirit and we are human. Having a human to human conversation is quite different from hearing God speak Spirit to spirit. Although we may not exactly hear words, we can sense in our spirit that God is speaking. Job 33:14 says, “For God does speak–now one way, now another– though no one perceives it.” May our spiritual ears be sensitive to the way God chooses to speak.

In Qualities of a Spiritual Warrior, Graham Cooke has said, “Never allow the noise of your circumstances to drown out the sound of the Spirit.”

God will speak to each of us in the way we are best able to comprehend. God may speak through the beauty of nature or the words of a friend. He may speak through inner feelings, impressions, or experiences. Maybe a verse of scripture or a couple of sentences in a book will jump off the page.

Whatever God chooses to speak, in whatever manner, His message will always align with His character. Psalm 100:5 declares, “the LORD is good.” Graham Cooke had said, “You need to be able to tune out the voices in this world that are not helpful and really tune into the voices that will sustain you on the journey ahead.” There are many voices and variables speaking to our hearts. We must discern what is truth.

Do you have a favorite radio station? Craig von Buseck has suggested that God may have His own radio station called WGOD. He emphasizes that God is always broadcasting. However, we must be aligned with His wavelength. Our ears must be accurately tuned to His frequency to catch the signal. Just as we carefully adjust the radio’s digital dial to the exact frequency to clearly hear a song, we must adjust our spiritual dial to God’s frequency to clearly hear His voice. Are you tuned to the spiritual station where you hear God? He may be telling you that He loves you. Listen carefully! He may be giving you guidance or revelation.

Webster’s Dictionary defines frequency as the number of times any action or occurrence is repeated in a given period. This can refer to the frequency of radio waves. Or, it can refer to the frequency of our moments spent with God. We must frequently listen to His frequency. What good is a radio station if we do not listen to what is being broadcast? What is the value of God speaking if we do not listen and obey His words? Samuel said in I Samuel 3:10, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” God spoke to Samuel – and He still speaks to us today.

In Daily Fire Devotional: 365 Days in God’s Word, Reinhard Bonnke has said that we are conductors of God’s power. Prayer is the way we can connect to the frequency through which God speaks. Bonnke goes on to say that prayer is intended to be the grid system for transmitting the power of God into this powerless world. He points out, “the lower our resistance to the Word of God, the higher our power rating!” The opposite is also true. “The higher our resistance to obedience to the Word, the lower our operational power of God.” Hmmm. This sounds like James 4:6, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.

In Revelation 14:2 John says, “And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. That was God speaking through spiritual wavelengths. Finding the frequency of faith is possible only when we frequently tune our spiritual ears to the correct frequency. We must be ready to frequently hear on God’s frequency.

In his book, Frequency, Robert Morris writes, “We are responsible to steward God’s spoken Word. Those who listen to God – receive His word with humble hearts and act upon it – will hear God again. God will not continue to speak to prideful people or those who do not obey what He has said. God is speaking all the time, but the only ones who hear are those who tune in to the right frequency through humility and obedience.” Luke 11:28 says, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.

My Reader, what is God saying to you? Are your ears tuned to His frequency to receive His spiritual signal? How frequently do you listen to the message coming over His air waves? Remember Hebrews 4:7, Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.

Praiseorama

I want to create a new word: praiseorama.

My concept for praiseorama originates from panorama. A panorama is defined as an unobstructed and wide view of an extensive area in all directions.

I suggest that a praiseorama is a portrait of a spiritual atmosphere of positive praise. No derogatory words, thoughts or actions to obstruct our perfect view of God. Just praise in every direction.

Click – click – click. A camera records visual images. Then, numerous individual photos are combined to create a panorama. Speak – speak – speak. We declare our praise unto the Lord. Then, we gather together a multitude of verbal declarations to create a praiseorama.

The following verses are appropriate scriptures to speak forth.

Sing to the LORD! Give praise to the LORD!
Jeremiah 20:13

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.
Psalm 34:3 NKJV

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
Psalm 100:4

Because Your loving devotion is better than life,
my lips will glorify You. So I will bless You as long as I live;
in Your name I will lift up my hands.
Psalm 63:3-4

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
Philippians 4:4

For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
He is to be feared above all god
s.
I Chronicles 16:25

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness.
Psalm 29:2

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are His
.
Daniel 2:20

Exalt the LORD our God and worship at His footstool;
He is holy.
Psalm 99:5

You ar worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor
and power, for You created all things,
and by Your will they were created and have their being.
Revelation 4:11

A panorama allows for an unbroken view of the whole region surrounding an observer. A praiseorama allows us an unbroken view of God’s environment.

My Reader, I encourage you to develop your own praiseorama. Surround yourself with praise – shout it out! Psalm 22:3 says that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people. So, as you praise Him, He comes into your presence. The Lord surrounds you when you praise Him. A praiseorama creates an awesome environment that is more than just a grouping of pictures. A praiseorama becomes a spectacular manifestation of the Lord.

Summer Fruit and Spiritual Fruit

Fresh fruit! Peaches, cherries, pears, apricots and plums! Available during the summer.

Spiritual fruit! Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, good, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control! Available year round.

Fruit trees and fresh fruit are part of God’s creation. In Genesis 1:11-12, it says that God made “fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them.” Genesis 2:9 stresses that the “trees were pleasing to the eye and good for food.”

Galatians 5:22-23 describes the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control are the nine virtues of spiritual fruit.

A natural fruit tree produces only one kind of fruit. It is a fruit tree – not a fruit salad! During summer, the tree’s branches hang with an abundance of fresh fruit. Peach trees bear peaches, cherry trees produce cherries etc.

Spiritually, it is quite different. Spiritual fruit is singular and all inclusive. This fruit is within us rather than upon a tree. Galatians 5:16 tells us to live by the Spirit. Each of us is capable of bearing all nine  attributes with the help of the Holy Spirit. Excerpts from Psalm 1:1-3 declare,How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, . . . But his delight is in the law of the LORD, . . . He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.”

A peach tree laden with peaches does not just appear overnight. First, a peach seed is planted. Then it grows into a seedling and eventually matures into a tree. Over time, it blossoms and produces fruit. We can apply the message of Mark 4:28 to the growth of a peach tree.The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens.”

We can learn how to become a spiritual tree bearing good spiritual fruit by observing the growth of a peach tree. Just like a peach that starts from a seed, so it is with us. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we become a new creation according to II Corinthians 5:17. When we are planted and watered in the good soil of His written word, we grow in faith. Jesus says in John 5:14-15, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

Colossians 1:10 tells us to bear fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. As with any fruit, we won’t see the full results of this fruit immediately. Over time, it will grow and our ability to offer this fruit to others will increase.

Matthew 7:17-18 tells us, “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.”  

Jesus says in John 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” The fruit of the Spirit we bear will be lasting! It will not spoil like an overripe peach. Spiritual fruit is not just picked and eaten once. As we offer spiritual fruit to others, the abundance of fruit increases. In contrast, once all the peaches are picked for a season, there will be no more peaches until next year.

We can taste the sweetness of summer fruit in our mouths when we bite into a fresh peach. We can express the sweetness of spiritual fruit when we praise the Lord with our mouths. Hebrews 13:15 says, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess His name.” 

I enjoy fresh summer fruit that is produced on trees. However, I also desire to produce the fruit of the Spirit in my life.

It’s vital that Christians bear fruit in their lives—the fruit of the Spirit. But what does that fruit look like? In Jesus Christ we have the perfect example of what God’s Spirit should produce

It’s vital that Christians bear fruit in their lives—the fruit of the Spirit. But what does that fruit look like? In Jesus Christ we have the perfect example of what God’s Spirit should produce in our lives.