Should We Roll Over and Play Dead?

Photo by linus_lohoff

Photo by linus_lohoff

The reason I’m asking that question is as Christians we are being muzzled in every aspect of our society.

Our children and our youth are not allowed to pray in school, not even bow their head in silence most of the time, without receiving a suspension. The vast majority of our universities are not only intolerant to Christianity, but they are out right hostile.

In most of our places of business, if not a private Christian company, must be extremely careful about wearing Christian jewelry, or putting Christian symbols on our desks.

When Christians peacefully protest outside of an abortion clinic, unless it is a huge crowd, they risk getting beat up and or verbally abused; and sometimes even hauled off to jail. And if you’re a Christian in Michigan and try to share Jesus Christ outside a Muslim carnival you risk life and limb while the police stand around and watch.

When a Christian speaks out against same sex marriage, they are called bigots and hate mongers instead of people with a different view point. When portrayed in Hollywood shows and movies Christians are made out to be hostile, bigoted, buffoons.

Why is it we can’t talk about Christianity in schools, but we can teach sex indoctrination to young children, and make them dress up in Muslim garb to celebrate Ramadan?

Why is it we cannot have a conversation about Jesus in public without people rolling their eyes or squirming uncomfortably?

Why is it that Christ is systematically being evicted from every part of our country and society? Why is it that so many of today’s Christians are luke warm at best, and many are Christian in name only?

It’s amazing how good Satan is at what he does. He is a liar, a deceiver, and the accuser of the brethren; and he is doing an excellent job turning a people against God and getting them to buy a lie. The lie is that the Government and science are our god, and we need only trust in them and life will be good.

What all of us need to realize is that going to church, reading the bible once in a while, and slipping in a prayer from time to time no more makes us a Christian then standing in a garage calling ourselves a Cadillac makes us a car.

Calling ourselves Christians doesn’t make us Christians just because we say it. We are Christians when we follow Christ, when He is our constant focus, and when He becomes that precious diamond that we are willing to sell everything else we have in life, to have Him.

This isn’t about being perfect; this isn’t about doing everything right, this is about a heart and attitude that puts Christ first in our lives. We all make mistakes, we all fall short, we all give into temptations at times, but do we regularly go to the Father with a repentant heart, or do we just ignore it and move on?

I see Christianity under more and more attack, and unless you’re in it to win it, you’re not going to be able to withstand the pressure and persecutions that are going to be coming on Christians.

I hope you’re in it to win it like Paul talks about in Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 9:25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

Are you competing for that imperishable crown?

It’s Time for Bible Trivia Again

bible quiz signMost of us have read through the Bible, yet how many of us have forgotten some of the stories or the characters involved. So how about if we challenge our minds a little and see how many of these we can answer without looking them up. πŸ™‚

Good luck, and have fun!

1. Which general was in charge when “they stood every man in his place round the camp; and all the host ran and cried … and three hundred blew the trumpets”? (Judges 7:20-22)

2. Which army did the Lord make hear “a noise of chariots and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host”? (2 Kings 7:6)

3. Which prophet heard “a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone”? (Can’t give the book reference as it would give it away, but it’s (37:7) πŸ™‚

4. He arose at midnight and carried the doors and posts of a city gate to a hill top. (Judges 16:3)

5. He threw down the altar of Baal and built an “altar unto the Lord” in its place, doing the work at night because he feared his father’s household. (Judges 6:25-27)

6. Who, because a man would not stop following him, halted him by stabbing him to death? (2 Samuel 2:22-23)

7. Which very fat man was stabbed to death by a left-handed man? (Judges 3:15-22)

8. Which king, while worshiping Nisroch his god, was “smote with the sword” by his two sons? (2 Kings 19:36-37)

9. Which king bought a hill for two talents of sliver, and on it built a city, naming it Shomeron? (1 Kings 16:24)

10. Who stood on the top of Mount Gerzim and told a fable about trees to the men of Shechem? (Judges 9:7-15)

11. Which mourning man climbed a mountain barefoot, and on the peak found a man waiting for him wearing torn clothing and earth upon his head? (2 Samuel 15:30-32)

12. Which king hired a “hundred thousand mighty men of valor out of Israel for an hundred talents of sliver”? (2 Chronicles 25:5-6)

Have a great weekend!

β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”-
β€œIf you like what you’ve read, please share it with a friend; and recommend YourSpiritMindandBody.com to anyone you feel would benefit from it”. Please also check out my Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/XsKD1p and like me while you’re at it. Thanks!

 

The Analogy of Fruits

Photo by Will Croff

Photo by Will Croff

The first seven paragraphs below were taken in part from three fat chicks on a diet.

Fruit nutrition is a great way to strengthen your immune system, fight disease, and boost your overall body health. In addition to being great tasting, fruit can provide you with different types of nutrition benefits–included providing more water in your diet!

Not only do fruits provide carbohydrates that provide essential energy for metabolism, processing nutrients, and staying active, but there is also some protein in fruit!

Fruits are loaded with most of the essential antioxidants (Vitamins A, C, E and Lycopene) your body cannot produce on its own. Antioxidant nutrients help your body prevent disease, fight illness, and stave off the signs of aging.

Your body needs all 8 essential amino acids for proper daily health and disease prevention. Fruits, like bananas, incorporated into your diet will assure you get more than your RDA!

Nearly all fruits are a great source of fiber that is critical for processing nutrients and eliminating the toxins that come from the food, drink, and the environment in which you live.

As a top source of vitamins and minerals, fruit is a quick way to get even more than the RDA of all of them. While popular fruits like apples and oranges are very nutritious, less known fruits like dragon fruit, which provides an abundant source of vitamin C, can deliver a blast of illness-fighting phytonutrients to the body.

With a limitless ways to prepare them, fruits are an easy way to really boost your nutrition and spark good health!

Reading all that about fruit can you see why God uses fruit to describe good characteristics? The physical fruits we eat can add so much to our good health and even heal disease. Of course the opposite is true as well. If you don’t eat any fruit, and of course vegetables, your health will eventually deteriorate. Your immune system will falter and you will be prone to sickness and disease.

It’s the same with the spirit. If we are not letting God plant the best fruits within us, our spirit will eventually become toxic, wither and possibly even die.

So, let’s look at the above with a spiritual twist.

Spiritual fruit is a great way to strengthen your spiritual immune system, fight spiritual disease, and boost your overall Christian health. In addition to being necessary for Christian growth, spiritual fruit can provide you with different types of spiritual benefits–included providing more of God’s Holy Spirit in your life.

Not only do Spiritual Fruits provide spiritual carbohydrates or “spiritual energy” they provide essential spiritual wisdom, they inspire good works, and they keep you spiritually active; while allowing God’s attributes to freely flow through you.

Spiritual Fruits are loaded with most of the essential spiritual antioxidants (Vitamins “L” for love, Vitamins “J” for joy, Vitamin “P” for peace, Vitamins “F” for forbearance and faithfulness, Vitamin “K” for kindness, Vitamins “G” for goodness and gentleness and Vitamin “S” for self-control.) these are spiritual antioxidants that your physical body and mind cannot produce on its own. These spiritual antioxidant nutrients help prevent spiritual disease, and fight spiritual darkness. These also help develop within you such a strong spiritual immune system that you could live forever.

Your body needs all 8 essential fruits for proper daily spiritual health and disease prevention. Fruits, like the Fruits of the Spirit, incorporated into your daily diet will assure you get a seat at the King’s table.

All these fruits are a great source of spiritual fiber that is critical for processing good works and eliminating the toxins thrown at us from the evil one who stalks the earth looking for who he might devour.

As a top source of spiritual vitamins and minerals, allowing the free flow of Spiritual Fruits through us is a quick way to get even more than the RDA of all of them. While popular fruits like kindness and goodness are very nutritious, less shown fruits like real godly love, which provides an abundant source of nutrients which enhance all the rest of the fruits can deliver a blast of spiritual illness-fighting phytonutrients to the heart.

Now, let’s see what the scriptures say about the good, bad and ugly of men and their fruits.

Matthew 3:7-8
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducee coming to his baptism, he said to them, β€œBrood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance.

These men cared nothing about the love of God, everything was ceremony and by the letter to them. This tells me bearing worthy fruits is much more important than understanding everything perfectly. It’s a matter of the heart.

Matthew 7:15-16
15 β€œBeware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?

The fruits people produce are a good barometer of what their character is really like. We can fool or be fooled by someone’s speech, but we will be known just as we will know others by the fruits produced in our lives.

Matthew 7:19-20
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

This tells me that after so much time, and after being given so many opportunities, if we do not let fruit be produced in our lives, we could very well be cut off and cast away. That would truly be sad.

Matthew 21: 18-19
18 Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. 19 And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, β€œLet no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away. – Is there a lesson for us here?

Once again, if fruits are not being produced in our lives, we are of no use to God and can very well be cut off. He doesn’t do this lightly, and He gives us more than enough chances. But, as the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, buy you can’t make it drink. God offers His Spirit and His Fruits; we just have to be willing to live a life that allows that Spirit and those Fruits to grow and flourish.

James 3:16-18
16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

If we live with envy and self-seeking our lives will be filled with confusion and every evil thing. But Gods wisdom in our lives brings purity, peace, gentleness, mercy and good fruits. The fruit of righteousness is sown in peacemakers. Are we peacemakers?

Galatians 5:16-25
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

There are two very clear paths marked before us. Will we take the wide, smooth and easy path that looks like lots fun, but leads to destruction; or will we take the more narrow and difficult path that’s more rugged and hilly, but leads to life? The choice is ours. Versus 19-21 below show what you will find in the wide and smooth path.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[a] fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders,[b] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. – This is spiritual junk food which will poison your heart, your mind, and your spirit; it will wither any fruit that is attempting to grow in your life and leave you empty.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. – This is spiritual health food, and will get you a seat at the Wedding Supper.

One thing that I think needs to be clear with us all is, we cannot develop the fruits of the spirit on our own. We can never learn or train ourselves to be loving enough, or joyful enough, or peaceful enough, or longsuffering enough. We can never learn or train ourselves to be kind enough, good enough, faithful enough, gentle enough, or have the self-control we need.

Now we can probably do any of those things to a degree, from time to time, for particular people, but not to their fullness to all. Those fruits are not something we can grow; they are fruits that need to be planted by God. We are required to help pull the weeds, and to allow ourselves to be watered, but they are fruits of God, and only He can plant them and make them grow in our lives. The thing is we need to stop blocking God and allow Him to plant and water the fruits in us.

Even after God plants the fruit seeds within us, if we do not have an abiding relationship with Him, if we are not giving our lives over to Him; we block His path. If we block His path, He cannot prune our garden nor turn on the water spigot to flow the Holy Spirit through us. If we continue to block him, the small fruit plants that may have begun to grow in us will be cut off from their source of life, and will wither and begin to die.

How do we get out of His way, and allow Him to grow the fruit within us? We stop living for ourselves, we stop being self-serving and self-centered, we stop putting ourselves first, we spend lots of time with Him in earnest communication. We have to want it more than anything else in the world. It has to be our diamond that we find and are willing to sell all we have for it. When we get to that place, not perfectly, but whole-heartily, God can prune and water us, and then we will truly have the Fruits of the Spirit flowing freely through us.

β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”-
β€œIf you like what you’ve read, please share it with a friend; and recommend YourSpiritMindandBody.com to anyone you feel would benefit from it”. Please also check out my Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/XsKD1p and like me while you’re at it. Thanks!

Tools for the End Times – Part 3

Photo by  mliebenberg

Photo by mliebenberg

– A study in character

If you have not read Tools for the End Times Part 1Β Β and Part 2, I would suggest reading them first.

Although this three part article is called, Tools for The End Times, its real focus is on character. In our walk with Christ, the development of character is what it’s all about.

So let’s continue to look at what Jesus Christ has said we should be like, or work toward when we become a new creature in Him.

Colossians 3:12-17 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

So, first off, when we are called and become part of the elect of Christ’s, and to be holy, “or set apart” the first thing we are supposed to do is put on Tender Mercies.

So what is it to put on Tender Mercies? I suppose if we break the words down we have tender, which is gentle, and or soft; mercies would, of course mean to be merciful. I guess that would mean we are to be gentle and forgiving toward others. Are we?

Imagine how many less church breakups, as well as, marriage breakups there would be if we all took Christ seriously and put on Tender Mercies.

Next we are to put on Kindness. Kindness is another one of those words that are pretty self-explanatory. Let’s look at some other words that could be interchangeable with Kindness. Affection, amiability, charity, cordiality, courtesy, decency, gentleness, good will, goodness, grace, graciousness, tenderness, thoughtfulness, tolerance, understanding, unselfishness.

Would others describe you or I that way? Definitely something to think about, right?

Next on the list is Humility. What does it mean to have Humility? How about lowliness, meekness, self-abasement, submissiveness and unpretentiousness. I believe these are the positive aspects to Humility. Keep in mind that Humility does not equate with weakness. Jesus Christ showed great Humility, yet He had access to the power of God. To look at His nature, you will see strength, honor, love and the heart and passion of a warrior. A true follower of Christ will know when he or she is called to be humble and when it’s time not to be.

Next we have Meekness. Meekness and Humility have very close to the same meaning with many of the same synonyms. I really like the definition I found on Wikipedia for Meekness. God-fearing, righteous, humble, teachable, and patient under suffering; willing to follow gospel teachings; an attribute of a true disciple.

Are we patient under suffering? Are we teachable, humble, and righteous?

Then we have Long-Suffering which is Patience, and one of the character traits that most of us struggle with most. Long-Suffering or Patience means having the capacity to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming angry or upset. Some good synonyms for Patience might be bearing, calmness, composure, endurance, even temper, long-suffering, perseverance, persistence, poise, resignation, restraint, self-control, serenity and staying power.

I don’t know about you, but I still have some work to do in this area.

After Jesus tells us what we need to put on; we are admonished to bear with one another, forgive one another, love, let the peace of God rule our hearts, be thankful, have the Word live in us, teach and admonish one another, and sing with grace in our hearts.

Isn’t it interesting that the exact things we need to follow what Jesus said is in the very beginning of the scriptures we started with. He tells us just what we need to live according to His will.

In order for us to be able to admonish one another in a Godly way, for us to be able to forgive one another, love one another, let God’s peace rule our hearts, be always thankful, and let the World live in us, as well as, sing with grace in our hearts we need to put on put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness and long-suffering. You’ve got to love it.

Unfortunately, these characteristics aren’t things we’re born with, but rather things that are developed in us over time, with God’s help.

I’m pretty sure that’s why James tells us to count it all joy when we experience trials and trouble. It’s not that they’re fun, but it is through trials, tribulations, and life experiences that we develop the character needed to serve God now, in the end times, and in His Kingdom throughout all eternity.

Let’s also not forget about the armor God has given us to put on in order to be protected from the evil one, and be prepared to do spiritual battle.

Ephesians 6:10-18 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saintsβ€”

If we will put on the whole armor of God while filling our minds and keep our focus on the following, we’ll be in pretty good shape.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthyβ€”meditate on these things.

Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

As well as, 1st Corinthians 13 and Galatians 5:22-23 which we’ve already covered.

And to wrap this up, let us look at Romans 8:31-39.

Romans 8:31-39 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

β€œFor Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God Bless!

β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”-
β€œIf you like what you’ve read, please share it with a friend; and recommend YourSpiritMindandBody.com to anyone you feel would benefit from it”. Please also check out my Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/XsKD1p and like me while you’re at it. Thanks!

Tools for the End Times Part 2

Photo by  mliebenberg

Photo by mliebenberg

– A Study in Character

If you have not read Tools for the End Times Part 1, I would suggest reading that first.

Now these are the kinds of character traits, aka fruits we need to serve God and to survive tough times, especially the end times.

The Fruits of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

So, let’s break these down and see what each of them are, and try to determine if we have them.

The 1st fruit or characteristic is LOVE, which for our discussion we’re referring to (agape) or charity. This type of love, loves no matter the circumstance. This love is unselfish and unconditional, it’s the kind of love that God has for us. It is brotherly love, and puts others before itself.

Do we have this kind of love for others, unconditional Love?

The 2nd fruit or characteristic is JOY. Now this one is kind of hard to nail down. Joy can certainly be a happy emotion, a sense of well-being; but it is much more than that. The joy talked about in scripture goes beyond happiness to include a feeling of knowing or expecting something that you know will bring you the feeling of Joy, the expectation of something wonderful. Like Romans 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. Joy is that earnest expectation which brings about the feeling of Joy.

Do we have that Joy or Earnest Expectation in our life?

The 3rd in the list is PEACE. Pease is a state of tranquility or quiet. It’s a state of security or order in your life. It’s freedom from fear. It’s being in harmony with others.

How can someone like the Apostle Paul have Peace in his life with all the trials he went through? I think we can answer that by looking at Philippians 4:7, which says, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

So real Peace, true Peace comes from God and a relationship with Him. This means that even through the storms of life we can have Peace in Jesus Christ.

Do we have Peace in our life?

The 4th fruit or characteristic is PATIENCE. The quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain. Now here’s the kicker, we need to do it WITHOUT complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like. An ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay, to have Patience with a slow learner, quiet, steady perseverance, even tempered care and diligence.

That’s a tough one for anyone, but it is a characteristic that we need, and God works to help us with. Unfortunately I think most of us just don’t get the lesson, so God has to keep giving us opportunity to learn Patience.

Do we have Patience in our life?

The 5th is KINDNESS. This is the state or quality of being kind. Having a good or benevolent nature or disposition. Having, showing, or proceeding from benevolence or kindness.

Basically it’s being nice to people in all situation. Are you familiar with the term kill them with kindness. There is no better or quicker way to de-escalate a bad situation than to be kind to someone who’s in a bad way. We need to be nice to people, even when we don’t feel like it.

How about you, are you a Kind person?

Number 6 is GOODNESS. Goodness is the quality of state of being good. Having moral excellence or virtue, as well as, kindness and generosity.

Goodness is another one of those characteristics that are hard for us, because we have become a selfish people. Everything around us says look out for number one, get all you can, you deserve it. Well, when we spend so much time trying to be good to ourselves, those who need us to be good to them often suffer.

Where do we rate on the Goodness scale?

Number 7 is FAITHFULNESS. The act of being Faithful is being strict or thorough in the performance of a duty. It’s being true to one’s word, promises or vows. It’s being loyal and firm in the adherence to promises or in observance of duty. Christ says He is faithful to us and calls us to be faithful to Him, as well as, to all others in our life.

How do we rate in our Faithfulness to Christ and others?

Number 8 is GENTLENESS. Gentleness is the quality or state of being gentle, especially in mildness of manners or disposition. Kindly, amiable, not sever, rough or violet. It’s also being peaceful, soothing, and meek. This doesn’t mean weak, and it doesn’t mean being a pushover. A warrior can be gentle when the time is called for without becoming weak or effeminate. That’s how we need to be.

How do we rate in our Gentleness with others?

And last, but not least, is number 9 on the list which is SELF-CONTROL. Without Self-control it would be hard to exhibit any of the above characteristics that are so important. Self-control is the ability to restrain oneself. To gain control over our impulses, emotions, actions or desires. It’s being self-disciplined, having self-restraint, willpower and levelheadedness. This once can be a challenge, but is so important to get a handle on.

So do you and I have the necessary Self-control that we need?

One of my very favorite chapters in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13, the Love chapter. It is the beginning and the end of true character. Without agape Love, none of the above fruits or characteristics would mean anything in our spiritual life.

If our Joy is not a godly Joy it’s just happiness that even the most evil of people have the ability to feel.

If our Peace is not a godly Peace it’s only brief transient moments of peace that move past us as quickly as the wind. There’s no substance to it so it doesn’t stay with us.

If our Patience is not a godly Patience it’s only being Patience with those we feel like being patient with, it’s selfish and self-serving. It is not a spirit of Patience, but and act we pick and choose to share with whom we please.

If our Kindness is not godly Kindness, again it will be a self-serving act that’s only exhibited when we have something to gain by it.

If our Goodness is not godly Goodness, our goodness will only be shared with those who can or will treat us in kind. It’s not true Kindness, and again is self-serving.

If our Faithfulness is not godly Faithfulness, we will only be faithful to that which brings us profit or advantage. It is not a trust in something or someone greater than us. Again, it is self-serving.

If our Gentleness is not godly Gentleness it is not gentleness at all. It’s a friendliness used to serve one self or to manipulate the reaction we want from others.

If our Self-control is not a godly Self-control, the controlling of ourselves is but a means to an end to protect our-self or get what we want.

As you can see, when we separate these fruits or characteristics from God, they each become selfish and self-serving. When they are combined with God, they become powerful gifts that not only bless us, but bless everyone we come in contact with.

When you break it down, all these things can be wrapped up in the word love. Love is the greatest gift we can give to others, and it is the greatest tool we have in overcoming our enemy.

I know this is kind of long, but please don’t stop here, please read the love chapter below. Read it slowly and drink in every word. Read it as a prayer or praise to God.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

In the last of this 3 part post, we will cover more very important characteristics that God is looking for in us, and look at the tools we have at our disposal that will help us in the times ahead.
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