Walk In One Spirit

Image result for fruit of the spirit

We have one divine spirit, the Spirit of God’s exclusive love(agapaō). All other types of “love” can be captured by our mortal enemy.

For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE(agapaō) YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” (Galatians 5:14)

That’s it! It’s the key to God’s plan, for here and for eternity.

It’s that simple? Simple because God spoke the universe into existence. Simple because He gave us His Word. Simple because the Fruit of God’s Spirit is simple.

If you want your life filled with God, you need to bear God’s Spiritual Fruit. If you don’t want God in your life, take your chances with cruel fate.

God’s Simple Fruit

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. (Galatians 5:18)

God’s domain rises infinitely higher than any given law. If you want wordly law, enjoy its bad fruit.

The Fruit of God’s Spirit is just one fruit.

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

It’s singular, ie the fruit. It’s not one kind of fruit called love, another called peace, a third called patience, etc. Singular fruit may have many characters, like sweetness, tartness, tenderness, scrumptiousness(getting a bit carried away). Also like fruit, it might be dry, grainy, tough, or other unflavorful characteristics.

This essay would become impossibly long if I covered the whole list. Instead, I will try to do a good attempt at each time I deal with it.

To be continued …

Rainy Day Blues

My roomie’s little kids were slumped on the couch watching cartoons, fighting and whining. Was the blustery, gray day outside just a coincidence?

Through my window I saw a slate gray sky, but I also saw the trees waving at the sky, almost as if they were dancing with joy. Maybe they knew something that the kids didn’t.

As Jesus entered Jerusalem the last time, crowds of admirers threw their cloaks and palm fronds down in front of His donkey, waving and welcoming him as if He were about to free them from their harsh, Roman occupiers. Here’s part of the story:

And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road. Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying: ” ‘BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” (Luke 19:36-40 NKJV)

Yet, mere days later those same admirers demanded that He be crucified.

Life is seldom as it appears; high above that depressing, gray overcast, mountains of blinding white cumulus clouds reached toward heaven. Sheets of rain fell to water the earth and complete the natural water cycle our Savior created to keep our planet beautiful and fruitful. The tragedy of His sacrifice redeemed us from slavery to the evil one, and His resurrection guaranteed us new, eternal life.

Despite the appearance of alleged evidence to the contrary, we have Jesus’ faithful promises to give us hope for a beautiful eternity with Him:

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:2-4 NKJV)

As we face the blues of uncertain, and just plain lousy, circumstances, we must look past them to our Savior, the ultimate promise keeper.

No Limit

If this title were to suggest to you a rap by Usher you likely wouldn’t be reading this blog post … so fergetaboutit. Not that rap-fans can’t be Christ-followers, but, just sayin’ …

There’s another use for, “No Limit,” and that’s from—drum roll please—the Bible!

My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness And Your salvation all the day, For I do not know their limits. (Psalms 71:15 NKJV)

One rock-solid fact of life is you can’t overstate God, His righteousness, or the wonder of His salvation. Nobody ever had praise down like King David, yet even he ran out of adjectives with which to glorify God.

Not that God needs our praises to feed His ego, but as His creation, our purpose, our destiny, is to lift up holy hands in praise to Him, to magnify His perfection, His holiness, His love. In short, everything about Him is worthy of our praise. If only we knew the half of His glory we would spend eternity declaring it.

So tear down that Pentecostal or Calvinistic box you’ve built around our eternal, infinite God! There’s no limit to His praiseworthyness.

Have You Ever Been Lonely?

Patsy Cline’s song has replayed itself in my mind since a show I watched included it. No doubt it’s a catchy little ditty, and in all honesty I have to admit my answer to her question is in the affirmative. A literary cliche mentions being lonely in a crowded room. All such thoughts are intended to emote feelings of dejection and longing for the better times before, “My Darlin’, she went away.”

When I feel sorry for my solitary self, God reminds me what He gave up to indwell Jesus, live among His creation, and subject Himself to all the abuse we could dish out. Think about it; the I Am, the eternal One, the Creator of the Universe, stepped out of His eternal comfort to be born of a virgin, not to set up His kingdom and be worshiped by all mankind, but to be tempted in all the ways that we have—without sinning—and in His innocence to be treated like an accursed sinner, even a criminal, to buy us back from the lying enemy who swindled humanity with promises of God-likeness.

I know you’ve heard all this before, but how often do you think about it, meditate on it, shed tears of conviction for taking Him for granted, and thanks for His unending love, forgiveness and faithfulness toward you personally. Here’s God’s promise, along with one of His requirements, from Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU.”

In view of all that, we should live in a constant state of thankful elation, but we don’t. We let our short-term worries distract us from our long-term hope. We need to memorize Matthew 6:25-34, then meditate on His words, controlling our worrisome emotions and trusting Him as we say we do.

Father, in Jesus name I ask you to give me the joy of Your salvation, instead of letting me wallow in my own self-pity. Let me see You as You are, faithful, even to Your own hurt. Make me always grateful for your free gift of reconciliation with You and eternal salvation.

SANTA CLAUS GRACE?

My previous post laid out some pretty stringent requirements for salvation that seem to leave no room for our human weakness. If that were all of God’s revelation to us, we would be in seriously bad straits. But there’s also this little thing called, “grace,” and it’s not to be taken lightly.

Searching, “did evil,” produced twenty hits in the KJV’s Old Testament. Each time, God judged that generation with some calamity that lasted until Israel begged His forgiveness and repented of their adulterous ways. And each time they repented, God gave them victory over their oppressive enemies. That’s grace.

Popular misconceptions have God either wearing a red suit and long, white beard, or throwing lightening bolts at anyone who steps out of line, but those who seriously read the Old Testament will see the depths of God’s love and grace toward His wayward people. God used all that failure, and all that judgment, simply to show us that we have no hope for salvation outside of His grace.

The fact that you’re reading this indicates your interest in things Biblical. The teaching of God’s inexhaustible grace is the hinge pin of all Bible doctrine.

Here you will find a treatment of God’s grace that, while not exhaustive, is thorough enough that you may learn something about it. Though I recommend the article, please know that I don’t agree with every point the author makes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I am right in my conclusions, or that he is wrong. Weigh his propositions by God’s Word. If nothing else, it will give you insight into the teachings of Calvinism.

With all this teaching about God’s grace, remember that He is not Santa, keeping a balance sheet of good and bad boys and girls. From the age of accountability, we are all on God’s “bad list,” and only by obeying the good news of His grace can we hope for eternal life with Him.

No Coincidence

I’ve felt a bit down of late, to the extent that I’ve asked God to take me home. I would like to say that such feelings aren’t self-pity, as I hate that dynamic because it denies denies God. Trouble is, I can’t say that, so I suffer shame in addition to my depression, steering me toward the vicious maelstrom that would suck me into emotion’s depths.

The enemy of our souls is often our emotions’ lord, manipulating them, and thus our will, away from godliness and the edification that it holds for us. God, however, never abandons his own to Satan’s wiles, but through “coincidences,” buoys us up when we most need it.

Today’s “coincidence” took the form of Crosswalk dot com’s daily feed, Streams in the Desert. Here’s the portion that ministered to me:

Have you asked to be made like your Lord? Have you longed for the fruit of the Spirit, and have you prayed for sweetness and gentleness and love? Then fear not the stormy tempest that is at this moment sweeping through your life. A blessing is in the storm, and there will be the rich fruitage in the “afterward.”
–Henry Ward Beecher 

That’s the sort of “coincidence” that makes me love my Savior God ever more deeply. I’m confident that He has some wonderful purpose for allowing my bouts with depression to continue. When all is revealed I will marvel at His supernatural wisdom and love toward me, and spend eternity thanking and praising Him for it.

Skeptical Me

Evolution of Modern Man

Materialists of all stripes demand that theists show them God, then they will believe in him. Well, I’m not at all convinced by all the “science” they say precludes God’s existence. Sure, they say they have evidence for Darwinist evolution, but I’ve never experienced it. They say they’ve proved the Big Bang, but I’ve never seen it. If you ask me, I have more experimental evidence for God’s existence than they have for his non-existence. When I obey God’s Word, I experience his blessings: simple cause-and-effect, just like chemistry experiments.

A Big Bang

Ask materialists where the Big Bang came from, and they tell you it’s cyclical; it goes BANG!, sends matter and energy outward to form us and everything else in the expanding universe, til eventually it quits expanding and begins contracting, ultimately back into the nearly- infinitesimal point of nearly-infinite density. Then it goes BANG! again. Even if that happens billions of times, matter still can’t be eternal. According to the Law of Conservation of Energy and Mass, matter had to have a beginning, or it would be eternal.

Fractal image representing eternity

Stick with me here, it gets better— Matter moves; can we agree on that? Movement is an event, even though it may be continuous. Any event has a duration, or passage of time, so matter’s existence necessitates time’s existence. One theoretical exercise challenges the exerciser to think of the furthest-back point imaginable, then consider the moment before that. You now have a new starting-point, so the exercise is futile … rather like arguing God’s nonexistence.

Even materialists’ explanations of subatomic structure are a bit iffy; they say atoms are mostly empty space. Ask my pinky-toe if that’s true when I misjudge a furniture leg.

Dark Energy
We know it’s there because it MUST be there.

One example of materialists’ lame explanations for God’s phenomenal work in the universe is what they call, “Dark Energy.” Though God’s Word says that he holds everything together, materialists won’t buy that. Since physical science can’t explain experimentally why electrons don’t fly out of their atomic orbits, or why the universe expands ever-faster, they cobbled together the theory of “Dark Energy” to explain all that mysterious stuff. Has anybody seen Dark Energy? Has physicists’ advanced instrumentation revealed Dark Energy? Do they even know what it is?

NO! They’re just guessing, because the idea of God is unthinkable. But remember, atheists are free thinkers.

Reckless Abandon with Your Gentleman-Suitor

I’ve discovered that Oswald Chambers, in My Utmost For His Highest, liked to use the phrase, “reckless abandon,” in describing the degree to which he urged patterning our lives after the Lord Jesus. So, I looked up those words in the dictionary—a slick-and-easy project in Kindle for PC.

reck•less adj. without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action: reckless driving
a•ban•don n. complete lack of inhibition or restraint: follow Christ with abandon.

I suppose every preacher develops his catch-phrases; such things help establish his professional identity. But to use them “recklessly” confuses their true meaning and reduces their impact. So let’s slice-and-dice this phrase til we find its most profound application to our lives.

What possible benefit might you find in “recklessness?” Every action has consequences, even in-action. (Why don’t they call it un-action, or non-action? Never mind, I think too much about words.) When you’re in sin—that doesn’t necessarily mean

The Kiss

habitual, gross sin, like adultery or larceny—if you’re at all a sane person, you take extreme measures to avoid consequences of the painful variety, although you’re not at all surprised if they find you anyway. You do it because you hope for positive consequences, or tangible reward.

Meet the new Nero.

Consequences of following Christ also fall into those two categories. The painful side, at least in the U.S., includes alienating close friends and family, or loosing social status. As for the blissful—yes, I said blissful—side, they range from loosing your guilt feelings, shame, and regret, to gaining a fantastic new Friend, and the family that comes with him. Oh, and don’t forget eternity with your loving, personal God.

I can’t imagine what it will be like …

“Abandon” certainly has a romantic connotation, as in “throwing caution to the wind” with that lady or gentleman you’ve been dreaming about. While such wind-throwing sports undeniable rewards, they are mild and short-term compared to the rewards you can expect from intimacy with Christ Jesus.

So, throw caution to the wind, and recklessly pursue your Gentleman-Suitor. He’ll love and care for you forever.

This Is Only a Test

The same could be said for life … This is only a test! The true reason for which I was born, my destiny, is to glorify my God and Savior for eternity. Worldly people will read those words with a quizzical smile, thinking it’s just a bunch of religious bunkum. But I know whom I’ve believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep me safe in him for the day that I will enter his presence to praise him in person. What a wonderful day that will be!