Tag Archive | fruit of the Spirit

Wait For It

I tried an exercise recently that involved writing every day on a random subject for 12 minutes. I called it my Daily Dozen. I asked my Facebook friends to give me a one-word prompt that I would use, in the order I received them. I was overwhelmed with 88 responses.

IMG_5878So I spent nearly 3 months writing every day. I loved the process as it really stretched me to talk about words as diverse as “abide” and “zombies,” from “chihuahuas” to “cats.” It was amazing to me how often the word for the day aligned with the calendar. As my 3 months of daily posts came to an end at the beginning of January, it was very appropriate that the word would be “waiting.”

We had been waiting for our first grandchild to be born. And wouldn’t you know it, he was a week late.

We don’t like waiting for things.

Waiting to hear news of whether our kid got into the college of their choice.

Waiting for tests results from a biopsy.

Waiting for a job.

Waiting for God to provide a spouse.

Waiting can cause unease and anxiety. Especially when we’re not sure what the outcome will be. Our minds usually go to the worst-case scenario. It’s easy for us to jump to conclusions and then let worry take over.

But worry gets us nowhere.

“They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they will walk and not faint” (Is. 40:31).

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Ps. 27:14).

It seems that if the Bible encourages us to wait, then maybe it’s not such a bad thing. We’re not used to delayed gratification. We have microwaves and Instapots and Amazon Now. We want things when we want them.

But God doesn’t work that way.

Micah 7:7 says, “But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my FullSizeRender 2salvation; my God will hear me.”

I haven’t come across any Scripture that encourages us to be impatient. In fact, the fruit of the Spirit includes patience.

Whaaat?

Amazing, isn’t it?

There must be something to that. God would not promote it if He didn’t consider it a good thing.

Romans 8:25 says, “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

If we are focused on the Lord, then we have hope rather than fear when we are waiting for something, because we see that the Lord is good. We see that all His ways are good. We see that He does not let us down.

IMG_8908When I was anxious after a late-term ultrasound showed a dilation in our grandson’s bowels, I was not focusing on who the Lord is. I wanted the baby to come quickly so that we could find out what this dilation was. But that wasn’t trusting, that was fearing.

If God is good, and He is, then our waiting will never be in vain.

 

 

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Did I Leave Anything Out?

Our bags are nearly packed, except for the essentials; 24 hours until we hit the road. We’ve taken great care to make lists and ensure that we have everything we’ll need for a month on the road. But it occurred to me that there are some pretty important things that didn’t necessarily make the list, but God forbid that they be left behind.

Love: “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

We’re going to be encountering a lot of people in the next month, and we can leave an impression all across the nation. What kind of impression we leave is completely up to us. We can show that we love each other and are so happy to have this time together. Or we can act like these are the last people on earth with whom we’d want to spend a month traveling. I vote for the former. That’s only going to come by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Joy: “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song” (Psalm 28:7).

So many times we try to find joy in our circumstances, but that doesn’t work very well. Many times, our circumstances aren’t exactly what we want them to be. Our joy has got to come from the Lord. If we find that truth, there will be more laughing than bickering along the way.

Peace: Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).

In my mind, peace is the opposite of war. War often comes because someone else has something that we want. Maybe it comes from fear that we won’t end up with all we need. Resting in the fact that God has given us all that we need will bring peace to our hearts–and to our journey.

Patience: “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11).

This is a biggie. It’s like forgetting your toothbrush if you leave this one behind. Nothing feels right. We must overlook the accidentally kicked seat or whatever other minor irritation would cause us to focus on our circumstances and not on the Lord.

Kindness: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

The watchword around our house lately has been “kindness.” Show kindness whenever you have a chance. Say kind words, do kind deeds. That will become even more important as we spend hours on end in a minivan. But how good and pleasant it will be.

Goodness: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).

This characteristic speaks to me of being Christ-like. The hackneyed “what would Jesus do” should always be evident in our lives. It’s not just about doing the right thing; it’s about being the right person–the one God wants you to be.

Faithfulness: “It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth” (3 John 1:3).

This is about doing what God wants us to do, and always following through. It’s about showing good faith. Be a person of your word.

Gentleness: “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:5).

Boys will be boys, but a spirit of gentleness will avoid a lot of pain, especially to one’s little sister.

Self-control: “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled” (1 Thessalonians 5:6).

‘Nuff said. Keep control of yourself. Don’t react. Be proactive to make sure that your heart and your mind are constantly fixed on Jesus.

The fruit of the Spirit. I can pack all the underwear I want, but if I forget to keep the Holy Spirit in charge of my life, then nothing else I’ve packed will do me any good.

Thankful today for:

420: the opportunity to host another baptism

421. the generosity of friends

422. google maps

423. reliable cell phone service

424. the two upcoming weddings in the family

425. good, clean family movies

Which Wolf Wins?

We’ve been dog sitting for the past week. Zoey is the same dog who came to swim with Berkeley back in the spring. Now, her family has gone on vacation, and we, along with two other families, are taking one-week stints watching her.

The first place she went has an older dog who really didn’t appreciate Zoey’s company very much. She got growled at a lot there. We have a big black lab that outweighs her by 56 pounds. But they’ve had a lot of fun together.

The next family she’s going to today has a young spaniel much more her size. I’m sure the romping with be epic. I’m also sure she won’t know what to do with herself once her family is back next week.

But looking at the two dogs at my house reminds me of the story of the black and white wolves. Apparently, the Cherokee Indians have a story about a time when there was a terrible argument between two adults, and an old wiseman was asked to mediate. With all the children gathered around to see what he’d say, the old man told this story:

Inside of everyone lives a black wolf and a white wolf. The black wolf is filled with fear, anger, envy, jealousy, greed and arrogance. The white wolf is filled with peace, love, hope, courage, humility, compassion and faith. They battle constantly. The obvious question to the children was this one:

Which wolf wins?

The old man’s answer? The one we feed.

We choose, every minute of every day, which wolf we’re going to let win in our hearts. Will we give in to anger and jealousy, fear, greed, arrogance? Or will we be filled with peace, love, hope? Those sound a lot like the fruit of the Spirit, don’t they?

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

If we live by the Spirit, we will not carry out the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).

The principle is simple, but not easy: stop feeding the black wolf.

Thankful today for:

399. a week-long play date for my dog

400. this opportunity for outreach to their community for my boys

401. a cleaned off desk

402. a great husband who will run to the store at 9:00 at night to buy milk because we’re out

403. a significant time of prayer last night for the outreach this week

404. less than a week left before we leave

405. a new look to my living room

406. God watering my new little rose bush

407. the near completion of our landscaping project

408. friends returning home safely

409. the promise of heaven

410. that we don’t have squeaky toys in the house for our pets!

 

Guarding My Heart

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

I have mentioned before that I have heart issues. Every once in awhile, I have these spells of arrhythmia, always in the middle of the night, sometimes for longer period than others.

My doctor says they’re not dangerous, just annoying and disconcerting.

It happened the other night, but only for about 5 minutes, so I was grateful for that. But because it was the middle of the night, and I was alone because my husband is out of town, sleep was elusive for the rest of the night. And the regular skip that I have in my heartbeat was more noticeable and more pronounced because of my circumstances.

If only the sin and wickedness that hides in my heart could be felt as easily.

When the skip in my heartbeat becomes more pronounced, I do a check: what am I stressed about? Am I getting enough sleep? What am I taking control of that is the Lord’s to direct?

Since my husband is out of town and will be for another week still, the answers to the above questions the other night were: everything, no and everything. My guard on my heart was definitely down. Prayer is what it took to be on guard again.

Because I have been separated from my other half for too many days now, I also have to keep my heart guarded in another sense. And I pray that his heart is guarded as well. Vulnerability makes us weak. But he’s out of cell range most of the time, busy with his own schedule, as am I, so our communication is sporadic. Again, pray keeps up the guard as we spend so much time apart.

What will flow from my heart today? It is well guarded at the moment, so love, joy, peace and all those other wonderful fruit of the Spirit should be the result. May it ever be that way.

Thankful today for:
216. A good night’s sleep
217. Field trips
218. New ministry partners
219. God’s mercies–new every morning
220. Toddler hugs
221. Paychecks
222. My washing machine
223. Finding a fun new show on TV
224. The variety in God’s creation

Would You Be Your Friend?

Are you someone you like to hang out with? If you had a choice, would you be your own friend? Do you like who you are? Do you enjoy your own company?

Have you ever looked at yourself from someone else’s eyes? Do they see someone who displays the fruit of the Spirit?

Love: unselfish, putting others first, not jealous, keeping no record of wrong

Joy: not grouchy and discontent: radiating happiness that transcends circumstances

Peace: unflustered, unfazed by what’s going on around you, trusting in God beyond what the circumstances might seem to dictate

Patience: peacefully waiting for God to move, knowing that He’s got things under control

Kindness: caring deeply about others and expressing that to them

Goodness: displaying the character of Christ, godliness; striving to always do the right thing

Faithfulness: displaying an unwavering faith in God and not straying from your walk with Him

Gentleness: not harsh, having a soft hand and voice when it comes to dealing with others, no matter their attitude

Self-control: not reacting to or following along with other’s bad behavior; not being erratic so that people don’t know what to expect from you

Doesn’t that just seem like a person you want to hang out with? I know I’d sure like to have that friend.

Guess that means I should work on being that friend.

Thankful today for:

102. brownies baking in the oven

103. 80 degree weather with only 31 percent humidty

104. a change in plans