Friday, 29 January 2016

The Fruit of the Spirit

                                         For the fruit of the Spirit is.......? Galatians 5:22

This season has been a difficult one for me. I have had some major situations to adjust to, both in my family and in my personal life. So many things have come at once that my natural and immediate reaction has been to worry. Not just passing concerns and thoughts, but gut wrenching, stomach churning anxiety that won't let go. To be honest, I can only remember one other occasion in my life when this was a daily battle for me, and that particular season took a few years to pass. When these emotions and situations continue for months and possibly years, it causes one to reflect more and more deeply on what God is doing and what is the important thing going on here! “God, what are You saying and doing?”, is probably a question that we all often ask ourselves, and Him!



So, I am beginning to see something emerging out of the mist of trial and difficulty. Obvious, perhaps. Seemingly unrelated to my particular trials, but nevertheless there. The first is that God wants wholeheartedly that we flourish. I don't want to analyse that word. We all know what it means to flourish! The stark difference between a plant that is flourishing and one that is not is plain to see. A few days ago I stumbled upon Joseph Prince on TBN channel and my first inclination was to switch channel. But there he was talking about worry and I felt that familiar sense of God speaking. So I listened. He told the story of an occasion when his young daughter was very anxious about something and everything within him wanted to take the worry away, to reassure her. Later in prayer, he felt the Lord show him that his own desire for his daughter to be free from concern was just a reflection of the Father's heart toward us, that He longs for us to be free. It stems from LOVE. And there I was, in the back of my mind believing that God was standing back watching me worry and getting angrier by the day! Have you ever heard a preacher announce that worry is a sin? I have. That's enough to make you worry! God wants to take worry from us, not because it's on a list of sins, but because he wants us to flourish, and it's well nigh impossible to flourish if you are in a constant state of anxiety.


And my other train of thought is somehow mixed with this idea of God wanting the best for us. What about these; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Galatians 5:22. Is this a list of commands that we struggle to attain to? I don't believe so. If you have children, do you not hope and pray that they live with all these positives? What are the alternatives? Hate, misery, anxiety, irritability, harsh attitudes, evil etc. These fruits that Paul talks about are the signs of truly being filled with the Spirit. Having experiences of the Spirit's power is amazing and wonderful, and can indeed be life changing, but what is even more beneficial and important for us is to be growing and displaying all the fruits that only He can give. The fruits of the SPIRIT. These are the fruits of flourishing, not of attainment. These are HIS fruits and come from abiding in Him.


I hope that I am learning this lesson! Writing this blog is an effort to push the lesson deeper. Now, when facing a difficult situation, I pray through the fruits of the Spirit and ask that He will come and make them grow and be visible to myself and others.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Rest

As you've trusted Me and listened to my voice I have seen your obedience and faith. I spoke and you listened. But having stepped out, you are now in a fog and the waters are swirling around you. Seaweed is entangling you. You have been consumed with fear, the fear that I have abandoned you, that you got it wrong, but know this My child, You belong to Me and My love will never leave you. In your place of confusion, know that I am working out my purposes, in you and for you, and for My glory. Rest daily in My Presence and push yourself into that place of refuge under My wings. Victory is, and always shall be yours because I have put you firmly and securely in my Precious Son Jesus. Jesus in you is the hope of glory that will never fail.

Col. 1. Ps. 18. Heb. 13. Phil. 1. Ps. 91.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

How Big Is Your Army?



“Satan stood up against Israel and incited David to number the people..... God was displeased with this thing...” I Chronicles 21:1 & 7

On first looking, these verses seems puzzling. David was in a season “when kings march out to war”, 1 Chronicles 20:1. He was also living in a time of victory over his enemies, taking the crowns from the heads of kings and subduing the Philistines. It is then that David decides to count his army, the result of which is 1,100,000 swordsmen. Quite a number for what was probably a small population! However, this counting displeased the Lord. Indeed it perplexed Joab who replies, “May the LORD multiply the number of His people a hundred times over”, 1 Chronicles 21:3.

What can we learn here? David says in Psalm 33:16, “No king is saved by the size of his army”. And yet in this story he is believing something quite different. God was giving David success on the battlefield and David began to believe that it was not God, but because of his great army that he was victorious. He began to look at all that he possessed and began to move his trust away from his God to his resources. The consequences for David and Israel were significant, although God held His hand as David confessed his guilt.

What a great lesson for us! Whatever we have in life, whether it's money, gifts, talents, vision, influence, the LORD alone is ultimately the one who will give us success. Maybe you have a small army, even a tiny army. Maybe your army consists of just one person, you! Fear not because God is your success. If this year is bringing a challenge that you feel ill equipped for, then thank Him for what He has given you, acknowledge your emptiness and need, and let Him lead you. And maybe a greater challenge in our plenty is to trust in the LORD with ALL our hearts and not lean on our own understanding, Proverbs 3:5.