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Post  Admin on Fri 31 Dec 2010, 2:53 pm

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT *
*Part 3 of 3*
*by Darlene Homoki Galatians 5:22-23 *
*
PEACE: Peace refers to the inner tranquility and poise of the Christian
whose trust is in God through Christ. It is both peace with God and the
peace of God.
The Apostle Paul tells us that such peace and spiritual blessedness is a
direct result of faith in Christ (Rom. 5:1). Peace is having all our
spiritual bones set. It gives calmness through the doubts, fears, and
alarms in our lives. It is a restful assurance that God is in control.
Peace is not the absence of problems, frustrations, or things going
wrong but, rather, it is a peace that comes only from God that endures
regardless of the circumstances.
Do we need peace? The answer is an emphatic yes! The need comes daily as
we face events in our life that bring panic, fear, terror, dread and
anxiety. Just reading the daily newspaper or listening to the news
causes us concern and shows us the need for peace in our lives.
Truth about peace comes only from God. Without Him there is no peace.
* It has nothing to do with our circumstances but everything to do
with knowing we have a right relationship with God.
* It has nothing to do with daily challenges or crises but
everything to do with knowing that our times are in God's hands.
* It has nothing to do with the present conditions of our life but
everything to do with knowing that God is all-sufficient.
* It is an inward serenity of the soul that indicates a life at
rest as we place our complete confidence in God moment by moment.
* It is knowing God is there! (See Ps. 139:7-12.)
* The key to peace is not the absence of problems and conflicts but
the presence of God. To enjoy peace we have to actively trust Him. Peace
also requires a decision.
* When we walk and are led by the Spirit, our life is characterized
not by fretting, panic and anxiety but, rather, by the peace that comes
from trusting God.
* Philippians 4:7: "And the peace of God, which passeth all
understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
* When the circumstances of life tempt us to panic, or feel
terrified, we. can choose either to give in to those feelings or to
trust in God.
* Choosing to trust God causes us to experience His peace even in
the midst of the uproar.
God's peace comes to us from four sources.
1) God, the Father. Isaiah 26:3 says, "Thou wilt keep him in
perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in
Thee." We cannot avoid strife, conflict and/or problems, but we can know
perfect peace in the midst of this as we focus on God rather than on our
difficulties.
2) God, the Son. The prophet Isaiah tells us one of His names is
the "Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6). That names reflects His mission.
Jesus' death on Calvary gave us the gift of peace with God that comes
only with forgiveness of our sins (Rom. 5:1). Our personal peace comes
through the work of God's Son on the Cross.
3) God, the Spirit. He is our personal Helper, Teacher and
Comforter (Jn. 14:26). The instruction, guidance and comfort we receive
from Him are indeed gifts of peace.
4) God's Word. The Word helps us know God by revealing Himself, His
ways and His purposes. The Psalmist declares in Psalm 119:165, "Great
peace have they which love Thy law, and nothing shall offend them. "When
we embrace God's standards for living, we experience the peace which
comes from maintaining a right relationship with God.
We choose to apply peace in times of crisis. The choice is ours. Do we
panic? We should pray first, pray often and pray continually. We can
place our fears and doubts into His hands. When we pause to acknowledge
God, His presence, His power and His love, He will make our paths
straight. Then once we've turned to Him, we will again be in touch with
His peace that passes all understanding.
Jesus is our example and displayed these attitudes in the Garden of
Gethsemane. This was a dark night in human history as the sinless Son of
God faced death for your sins and mine in order to accomplish our salvation.
Throughout His three years of ministry, Jesus often referred to God's
plan for His death. As He prepared for the Passover (Mt. 26) He said,
"My time is at hand." It was now time for Him to die and to fulfill the
Father's plan.
Jesus willingly obeyed. Jesus, acting in love, gave Himself as a
sacrifice for our sins. He knew He would be betrayed by His own
disciples. He would be misunderstood by His family and friends. He would
be rejected by mankind. He knew there would be verbal and physical
abuse. He knew there would be an unjust sentence. And, worst of all, He
knew there would be momentary separation from God, His heavenly Father.
In other words, from the human perspective, Jesus was losing all He had.
Yet, in love, He willingly went through with it all- "He first loved us."
Facing the crisis of the cross, Jesus went to Gethsemane to pray. He
prayed fervently - "His sweat became like drops of blood" (Lk.
22:44).On the physical level Jesus wanted it to pass - He did not desire
to taste death and carry the burden of our sins to the cross. Yet He
prayed, "Not as I will, but as Thou wilt." With this submission to God's
will, we see Jesus emerge triumphant from His time in the Garden.
Love is the sacrifice of self. Jesus was determined to do the Father's
will. Jesus' love looked to the Father and to us and the Spirit enabled
Him to submit to death on the cross (Heb. 9:14; Eph. 5:2). The flesh
wanted the cup to pass but love looked to God the Father and said, "Thy
will be done."
Jesus experienced joy. Hebrews 12:2 says, "For the joy that was set
before Him .... " What was that joy? It was the joy of fulfilling the
will of the Father (Ps. 40:8; Phil. 2:8; Heb. 10:7).
He got up from His agonizing time of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane
with peace, knowing that His times were in God's hands, saying, "Let us
be going" (Mt. 26:46). He was now rid of His fears, and free from those
agonies and dreadful apprehensions of the events to come. He signifies
His willingness to be apprehended, and to suffer and die bearing the
sins of mankind.
It is good to note that the circumstances did not change! After
agonizing prayer, Jesus was still going to be crucified; He was going to
die but He went sustained by God's love, joy and peace.
It was not easy for Jesus.
* He knew what suffering He was facing.
* He prayed, not once, but three times.
* When our Savior finally rose to go forward, He did so with
love,joy and peace saying "Let us be going."
* He went to the cross by His own choice; He did it willingly. "He
could have called ten thousand angels, but He died alone for you and me."
What a challenge! Do those around us see love, joy and peace? What do
our attitudes show to the Christian community? To the non-Christian
community? What a difference we could make in this world if in our daily
lives these three graces were exemplified!

"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of
the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the
Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are
in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if
you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law" (Galatians 5:16-18, NIV)
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Post  Admin on Thu 30 Dec 2010, 2:27 pm

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT *
*Part 2 of 3*
*by Darlene Homoki Galatians 5:22-23 *
JOY: The joy which the people of God should have is holy and pure. It is
real! It is distinct from mere happiness. Happiness is often temporal
and dependent upon current circumstances. Joy, however, rises above
circumstances and focuses on the very character of God. It looks beyond
the present to our future salvation (Rom. 5:2; 8:18). Joy like this is
possible, even in the midst of sorrow (2 Cor. 6:10; 7:4).
The need for this kind of joy springs from sorrow, tribulation, tragedy,
affliction and trials. None of us is exempt from experiencing heartache
and disappointment, etc., BUT through Christ we can have 'joy
unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Pet. 1:8).
Joy was important to Jesus.
1. Jesus wanted His disciples (and wants us) to know the joy of
fellowship with Him, joy to the fullest (Jn. l5:11)!
2. Jesus looked beyond His suffering to the joy that was before Him
(Heb. 12:1-2).
Joy that is the "fruit of the Spirit" is permanent (Jn. 16:22). It is
not dependent upon circumstances and things. The one thing that can rob
us of experiencing the joy God provides is our failure to walk in the
Spirit (Gal. 5: 16). The Holy Spirit causes this fruit to grow in our
lives as we abide in Christ.
Joy is always available (Phil. 1:4; 4:4). What ever the circumstances of
our lives, we have ready access to the Source of true joy anytime we
turn to Him.
Real joy is unspeakable (1 Pet. 1:8). True spiritual joy is not mere
happiness. If everything is going well, we are "happy." If we get what
we want, we are "happy." Happiness can be a false joy. God's joy is a
gift of grace to us as we encounter hardships, persecution and troubles
in this life. It is supernatural and goes beyond all conditions of life.
* This joy is not dependent on circumstances but on spiritual
realities:
His unconditional love for us and His victory over sin and darkness.
* This joy is not based on our efforts but, rather, on the truth of
our relationship with God through His Son, the Lord Jesus.
* This joy is not merely an emotion, but the result of choosing to
look beyond the present circumstance to what is true about our life in
Christ.
The source of real joy is:
* God Himself. God - the only source of joy - wants to give you His
JOY
* Salvation is a great reason for joy.
* God's promises are a cause for joy. Simply by opening His Word,
and reading and believing His promises, we will find a great source of joy.
* Our future - our blessed Hope - brings us joy.
This is the kind of relationship God wants with you!
The notion that God recreated you in Christ to get more work out of you
is such a low view of our Father. God wants you to adopt Paul's life
verse: "that I may know Him [Christ]" (Philippians 3:10). As you pursue
that goal, spiritual fruit will begin to drop off of you to the glory of
Christ.
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Post  Admin on Wed 29 Dec 2010, 3:05 pm

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT *
*Part 1 of 3*
*by Darlene Homoki
Galatians 5:22-23 *


"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is
no law. "

LOVE, JOY, PEACE
Our Attitude or Inward State

Editor's Note: This the second in a series of studies on the "Fruit of
the Spirit." The first installment appeared July 2007.

LOVE: Love is a word that is hard to define. It is a word we grow up
with, but we never really stop to think of all that it entails. One
definition is that love is the high esteem which God has for His human
children

There are many different kinds of love - natural love (children,
parents, family); the love between husband and wife; love of
friends,etc. ; and then the love we have for God and our Savior, Jesus
Christ.

There are many references to love in the Bible and it is certainly the
most remarkable Book of love in the world. It records the greatest love
story ever written of God's unconditional love for us that sent His Son
to die on the cross (Jn. 3:16; 1 Jn.4:10).

Love also expresses the essential nature of God. Love can be known only
from the actions it prompts, as seen in God's love in the gift of His
Son (1 Jn. 4:9-10). Love found its perfect expression in the Lord Jesus.
Christian love is the fruit of the Spirit of Jesus in the believer.

Love is like oil to the wheels of obedience. It enables us to walk in
the way of God's commandments (Ps. 119:32). Without such love, we are as
nothing (1 Cor. 13:3). Such Spirit-inspired love never fails (1
Cor.13:8) but always flourishes.

Do we need love? Yes! We all have a need to be nurtured and respected.
The need for love is created further by ill treatment, hostility,
abuseand the hatred all around us.

Remember love is important to God:
1) God is love (1 Jn. 4:8).
2) Love like this is everlasting ("The Lord hath appeared of old
unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love ...
"Jer. 31:3), given freely (" ... I will love them freely ... " Hos.14:4;
cf. Eph. 2:4), sacrificial (Jn. 3:16), and enduring to the end (Jn.
13:1; Rom. 8:38-39).
3) God loves (John 3:16). What greater love than this (Rom.5:8)?
4) Jesus loves. He willingly gave Himself for us - He was not a
martyr (Mt. 20:28). "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us and
hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet
smelling savour" (Eph. 5:2).
5) As Christians "the love of Christ constrains us" (2 Cor. 5:14).
6) We are to walk in love (Eph. 5:2).
7) We are to love one another (Jn. 15:12). "And the Lord make you
to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men,
even as we do toward you" (1 Thess.3:12).
8) Wives are to love their husbands and children (Titus 2:4).
9) The older women are told to teach the younger ones how to love
(Titus 2:4).
10) We are to love our enemies (Lk. 6:27; Rom. 12:17-21).

To love is a decision. It is hard to love under difficult circumstances.
There are times when we feel we need love and we don't feel like giving
it. The love of Jesus is what enables us to give that love even when we
don't feel like it. It is His love in us that helps us to reach out in
love to others even when we don't want to.

Love is action - not just words. It is often much easier to say "I love
you" than it is to put it into practice. Love has work to do and love
does that work. Our actions back up our words and are proof of our love.
Every family member provides you with an opportunity to love and do acts
of love. Your work at home, at church, and at your job provides you
with many opportunities to perform acts of love.

Love reaches beyond family and friends to the unlovely. It is easy to
love family, friends and nice people. But we are told to love our
enemies - those who are not so nice. God's love calls us to love those
who are irritating, a bother to us, unthankful, or even evil. We are to
love those who bring us sadness and heartache. That is hard. Jesus tells
us in Luke 6:27, "But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do
good to them which hate you."

It is God Who provides the grace we need to extend our love to the
unlovely. It is through His Spirit that we are able to love everyone,at
any time and without conditions.

We need God to help us love. We rely on God for love. We naturally do
not love those who do not love us, those who hurt us, bother us, and are
different than us. It is God through His Holy Spirit Who gives us this
love for others. God's love is there for us to give, and we who follow
Christ need to remember that those who are the hardest to love are the
ones who need it most. Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things
through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Real love expects nothing in return. When we are loving toward someone,
we expect that person to be loving to us. But when Jesus tells us to
love our enemies and do good to them, He tells us to do good expecting
nothing in return (Lk. 6:35 - "But love your enemies, and do good and
lend, hoping for nothing again ... "). We need to love without any
thought of personal reward. This is not natural. This kind of love can
only come from God. This is the kind of love God offers us in Jesus
(Rom. 5:8-10).

Love is not self-seeking. Its only intent is to love as Jesus loved,
praying for others to respond to God's message of love through us.

The only way we can walk in God's love is to look to Him to fill us with
that special kind of love - that love that is a decision to love -that
love that takes action - that love that extends itself to the unlovely.
You and I need God to help us love.


Lord Jesus, what an amazing path You walked --- from humble servanthood
to a heavenly throne. What a grand exaltation will be Yours forever.
What an astounding joy to know that I will join You in that exaltation,
serving You eternally. Lord, I humble myself before You anew. Make me
You faithful servant now while I await the glorious privilege that is
coming, Amen.
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