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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Right

RIGHT
A person whose way of thinking and feeling and acting is wholly conformed to the will of God. Ultimately, "right" is simply the will of God lived out. "Might makes right" is actually a true saying, because God is ultimate "might" and He alone determines what is ultimately "Right." When a society, or group of people argue that their point of view, in oppposition to God is "right," they are ultimately wrong. Excuses and scientific discoveries and theories all must collapse in a meaningless puddle of nothingness.
God alone establishes what is right.
To think on things athat are right requires a love for the Word of Him thru the Bible. Then our minds will be thinking "right." Then there is hope that our actions will be "right." Not because we now hae a formula, but because we will be seeing as God sees. His ways are right because He is right. Wa are right when we are in line with His will for the moment we are living in. Our "mother and brothers" may be at the door telling us they know what is right, but we must follow what God is leading us to do, He alone knows what is right for us.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Self-control Peace

SELF-CONTROL
Amazing, beautiful irony. Can you wap your mind around this? Self-control is a FRUIT of the Spirit. Not so fast, think about that, let it sink in. Self-control has as its root and power and fulfillment, the Spirit of God. Once again even in the area of self-control there is no room for boasting. People with a natural ability to control their actions, have to be completely broken of all "trust" in their will-power or stamina. The broken and contrite are the ones who can truly receive and walk in this fruit. They have surrendered any idea of being a 'self-made man.' They will never claim to have picked themselves up by the bootstrap.' They are and ever will be counter-cultural. They, with Paul, proclaim their weakness, and then and only then find strength. Praise God for the jagged path that breaks us of self-reliance and brings us into the realization that "self-control" is a fruit of the Spirit, and has nothing to do with self. It rises out of the ashes of our pride, with shouts of "Grace, Grace to it!"

PEACE
This fruit is most dramatically displayed in situations that would normally cause despair. Like joy, it is not based on circumstances or events. The foundation of peace is found in the deep trust that develops between a disciple and his Master. Trust that grows as God displays His faithfulness in all the areas of our life where we choose to rest in Him. Peace is tied to the scripture, "We walk by faith and not by sight." How often does the 'liar' whisper, "This isn't the way it should be. He is nowhere. He will not carry you this time." God will faithfully give you a word that speaks of His goodness. There is a danger in "picking" a scripture that speaks of a specific outcome, peace is not based on that, it is based on His goodenss, His wisdom, His knowledge of all thing. HIM. What joy it brings to His heart to see one of His beloved resting in the keel of a storm-tossed boat. Peace was in the heart of Jesus long before He spoke to the wind and the waves. God gives us this peace.

Friday, September 25, 2009

good and truth

GOOD
We are commanded to set our minds on things that are good. Good things flow from God. Good is a word that Jesus did not let people abuse, challenging the rich young ruler, that "no one is good, but God alone." When we pursue " good" we must end up at God, the source of everything good. The encouragement from God is focus, pursue, be drawn toward what is good. As always His love for us is the motivation for telling us that this is the way of life. Untold troble, pain, and sorrow could be avoided if we pursued "Good" and not evil. It is a swimming against the current of this day, but the Holy Spirit inside of us is faithful to "check" when we are drifting toward evil. Our part is to pick up the grace to allow that "check" to be enough to turn us 180 degrees away from evil and toward good, to the praise of His Name.

TRUTH
Focus on things that are true. Truth identifies and strengthens our love for God. True things withstand scrutiny. True things withstand storms. Truth is so much a part of who God is that Jesus identifies Himself as the Truth. Steadfastness and perseverance proceed from a life that is rooted and grounded in truth. Truth is the hard, narrow way. Lies are told to make things easy, to get around the rules, to supplant God's purposes. Lies are told by people who do not trust God to "have their back." God is true, His words to us are true. Filling our minds with what is true, combats the incursio of the world, the flesh and the devil. Choose to focus on what is true and you will be able to laugh at the lie.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

faithfulness gentleness

FAITHFULNESS
"For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.
Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay." Hab. 2:3 Disillusionment is the ax that satan has designed to cut down the tree of faithfulness. "Though it tarries," is the way that God purifies our faithfulness, making sure that it is a faithfulness to HIM, not the "outcome."

"And He said, 'Come!' and Pete got out of the boat, and walked on the water and come toward Jesus." Matt. 14:29 Faithfulness is to the word that the Master speaks. That word, empowered by His grace at that moment, is all that we have to go on. Reason, worldly wisdom, common sense, are not what we are faithful to. Our faithfulness flows from our belief in the power and love of God. This is fruit, not a work that we strive for, but a life-filled outflow from deep roots. God is good. Simplicity, child-like trust is our ultimate call. Resurrection, when all is totally dark, remember. God's faithfulness does not end in death, resurrection is His 'trump card.'


GENTLENESS

This word is used almost exclusively as the attitude we should have when restoring someone. Jesus describes Himself as gentle. Israel's coming King is described in Psalms as gentle, preferring to enter His kingdom on a donkey instead of a stallion. This fruit is desperately needed, and like the awful smelling manure that drenches the most productive fields, the growth for this frui has taken place in dark, terrible times that the Lord has redeemed. Those with a spirit of gentleness have been "great sinners," who have felt the loving hand of restoration extended to them. People who have no hope of ever 'coming back' are drawn to those with a gentle spirit. "I know the pit You got me out of and so no pit is too dark and deep for me to reach into." This reaching "Believes all things," trusting the God who restored them will also restore this one. This reaching is not so mich a reaching down, as a reaching across, because the reality of the grace that has been shown to me is never far from my consciousness and it shows in my gentleness with other's sins.
God, may this fruit grow in abundance in my life, in Your church.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

love and joy

LOVE
The cornerstone, the loadstone, the thing without which nothing else matters, its' importance cannot be over-emphaszied. The requirement for this fruit to grow is the submission to the loving, pruning hand of the Master-gardener. His goal will be the death-to-self, the voluntary "deny himself," that truly sets us free to love. Love truly is freedom, freedom from the worst kind of bondage - bondage to our own lusts.
Grace has lovingly reached out to our lives. Our reception of that love is the trigger to release its' outflow in our lives. The only hope of giving love is abiding IN the love that God gives us. Humiity is a requirement. You only get what you admit you need and ask for. A lack of love can be traced to a lack of humility. Pride blocks love. Pride tries to look like love at times, being "generous, kind and sacrificial," but God is not mocked. The white-washed tomb has never fooled Him. Scripture tells us exactly what love is, as we admit our lack, the Father will fill us.

JOY
Joy is a fruit that grows abundantly on a tree that is content to know the will of God and do it. It cares not about the "success" of the work, the appearance or image that is presented. If ia am about my Father's business, it is enough. In that is my joy. Joy is deeper than happiness. It is so deep that it is untouchable by the circumstances that pummel huppiness inot oblivion. Joy speaks of an inner knowing that we are "known" by God. "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine." That is the ultimate statement of joy. It flows from an intimacy with the God who "dances" over us. We can find joy only in union with God. This treasure becomes more and more unshakeable as we rest in the will of God for our lives. It leaves when we are trying to be what anyone other than God wants us to be.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Patience

Patience
"Passing through the valley of Baca (weeping) they make it a spring," Psalm 84:6a Patience has a deep tap root in the goodness of God. Everything around us can be screaming, "Hurry up, this is urgent!" and we can be in a place of rest. Endurance is often tied to patience. "Patient endurance," is a phrase often found in the Bible. Eugene Peterson wrote a book entitled, "A Long Obedience." The godly throughout the centuries have been most easily marked as those who are not looking for a quick fix, a quick answer. It is truly counter-cultural, but it is the most pleasing way to God. This is a marathon, not a sprint. "He who endures to the end..." A great emphasis is placed on continuing to do the right thing until... don't put a limit on it! It is until God says so.

kindness

little devotionals i wrote for a women's conference

Kindness
This fruit grows from a tree that knows the depth and the breadth of the kindness that it has been shown. When you truly know that you were deserving of wrath, the fact that you were shown mercy becomes more and more amazing every day. This realization drives you to forgive. You see beyond the hurt to the healing that the other person needs. You are slow to speak because "quick words" are typically cruel and without grace. Kindness risks rejection and embarrassment by pushing open a door that is partially clased so that light and life can come in. This fruit approaches others with the grace of God in a way that they can receive it. There is no formula, only a constant leaning on the God who knows best how to transmit His love and care to a lost and hurting world. The roots of kindness are noursished by events of cruelty and neglect that have been redeemed by the love of the Father. The pain is transformed in a dogged determination to be a vessel of His "Healing Balm."