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Real Life: Self-Control

Real Life:  Self-Control “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 Control is something we all want to have in our lives.  When that control is lost, we grasp after it until we have it again, no matter what the cost.  In God’s kingdom, the only control we must have is control that is regulated by the Spirit of God.  Power, choice, and surrender are key elements to self-control.  We have the power to act, or not. We can surrender to God’s will, or not.  The resources of heaven are at our disposal every minute of every day to keep us in step with the Spirit, if we that’s what we choose.  There…

Real Life: Faithfulness

Real Life:  Faithfulness “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for him.”  Lamentations 3:22-24 Faithfulness means trustworthy.  A person who is faithful can be trusted to do what they say they will do, when they say they will do it.  The key word here is trust.  It is dependent on a person’s character.  I know God is trustworthy as I get to know Him more intimately through His Word.  A faithful person can be counted on; they rarely fail to live up to their promises.  We do make mistakes because of our human weakness, but the Holy Spirit within…

Real Life: Goodness and Gentleness

Real Life:  Goodness and Gentleness “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 Goodness and gentleness are like cooling breezes in the blistering heat of summer. In the scriptures they are coupled with patience (forbearance) and forgiveness.  In the depths of pain, the breezes of forgiveness cover the one who committed the offense against us. This fruit is intended to lead that person to repentance. In Romans 2:4, the apostle Paul asks a question of the church at Rome that illustrates what this means:  “Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”  God’s kindness towards…

Real Life: Patience

Real Life:  Patience “…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:2 The Christian life was birthed in the fires of suffering.   Jesus suffered on the Cross to make salvation possible for every human being. The Bible says that He endured the Cross: “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5. As a human being, Jesus suffered excruciating pain.  How did He endure such agony?  The same way we can endure unimaginable pain, both physically and emotionally.  Jesus was on the Cross for six hours, and He was beaten and verbally abused before the first nail pierced His flesh. …

Real Life: Joy

Real Life: Joy “ I have told you these things so that you will be filled with MY joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! John 15:11   “And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”  Nehemiah 8:10  In God’s realm, joy is not a feeling or a passing sentiment. Joy is the stronghold of the soul that sustains us through the most horrific circumstances.  It is heavenly in origin, the sweet fruit of the divine.  In Philippians 4:4, we are commanded: “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I…

Real Life: Peace

Real Life: Victorious Peace “ Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your specific requests known to God. And the peace of God, that peace which reassures the heart, that peace, which transcends all understanding, that peace which stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, is yours.” Philippians 4:6,7 Peace is a gift and like any gift, we must take it, open it, and put it to use.  Jesus promised this peace to all His disciples.  The cares and worries of life can bring our hearts and spirits down so that we accomplish nothing for God’s Kingdom.  Our purpose is hindered by anxiety and fear.  Peace begins at…

Real Life: Love

Real Life:  Love “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1Corinthians 13:13 Love’s origin is God, for God is love.  It’s not a sentiment or a feeling, but deliberate, intentional action.  In the Greek it is the word agape and agapao.  The Vine’s Bible dictionary states it this way: “Love can be known only from the action it prompts.  God’s love is seen in the gift of His Son, 1John 4:9,10. It was an exercise of the Divine will in deliberate choice.”  Love is action taken by deliberate choice of the will.  Love is drawn from His very essence.  God’s love is ours because of Who He is and what He’s done for us.  Our love to God…

Real Life: Introduction

Real Life:  Introduction “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5:22-23 Jesus is real.  He is real on the inside of those who are saved by His grace.  My whole heart’s desire is to show God to those around me so that they can know the love I enjoy every day.  People are tired of lies, hypocrites, deception and double standards.  They want the right Way, the pure Truth, the real Life. That’s Jesus and Jesus lives in me through God’s Holy Spirit. In the next nine weeks I will explore the singular fruit that the Holy Spirit produces in those who believe. …

Radical Love: The Glory of God

                                                   “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” John 11:4 We’ve seen over the past few weeks instances of Jesus’ radical love that transformed those around Him.  Radical means: “relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough”. In the story of Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus, His love for God’s glory reveals the far-reaching effect of His power.  Lazarus became ill with a fatal disease and his sisters called on their Friend Jesus to heal him.  Jesus stayed where he was until the news came that Lazarus was dead.  Jesus said plainly to His disciples that his sickness was for the glory…

Radical Love: A Life Transformed

Luke 19:10: The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”  Zacchaeus was a tax collector.  Tax collectors were the most hated among the Jews because they collected tax for the Roman government, their oppressors. But they also did their fair share of stealing from people by taking more tax than was required. When we first meet Zacchaeus, he was not collecting taxes.  He was seeking Jesus, Who also was seeking him.  He wanted a different lifestyle. How do we know Zacchaeus was changed by Jesus’ presence in his home? He was ready to give away his wealth, even more than he had to.  He knew his sinful condition.  He didn’t deny that he was a sinner. By now you know…

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