Fruit Of The Spirit…Faithfulness

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations…”

Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV

God keeps His promises.  We are responsible for how we live our lives and how we treat each other…God gave us free will.  If we do our part and put our trust in Him and walk in the Light of Christ, He is faithful and will forgive us our sins and restore us.

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This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:5-9 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2020 at sunset at a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

God’s Faithfulness

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”

Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV

No matter what we have done or left undone…God is with us and God is for us.  Even when we don’t see Him or the work He is doing in our lives…He is near.  Every promise God made has been kept…He is faithful and His only promise yet to be fulfilled is when Christ returns.  Trust in the Lord and His Word…He is trustworthy and faithful in everything.  Amen.

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“The Lord himself will go ahead of you. He will be with you. He will never leave you. He’ll never desert you. So don’t be afraid. Don’t lose hope.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 NIRV

(This photo was taken in August of 2021 at a field near Kimball, Minnesota)

Be Filled With The Spirit

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Ephesians 5:15-20 NIV

“The Holy Spirit is already in every Christian heart, and He intends to produce His fruit.  However, there must be a displacement.  A boat does not sink when it is in the water, but it does sink when the water comes into the boat.  We do not fail to enjoy the fruit of the Spirit because we live in a sea of corruption; we fail to do so because the sea of corruption is in us.”

– Billy Graham, Author of Unto The Hills

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

Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2016 in a neighborhood near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Gratitude

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”

Psalm 100:1-3 NIV

There is no one who loves you more than God…He sacrificed His Son in order to give you a way to be with Him.  He is near, He is working out His way in your life.  Surrender your ways and give thanks to Lord for all that He has done and is doing in your life.  He is faithful and His love endures forever.  Amen.

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Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

Psalm 100:4-5 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2018 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

God’s Faithfulness

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

2 Peter 3:9 NIV

“God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

1 Corinthians 1:9 NIV

God is always with us…even when we don’t feel His presence or think He isn’t doing enough for us.  We must remember His ways are better than our ways.  We are sinful and distracted by the world, our flesh and Satan.  He has made a way for salvation, for everyone.  Put your faith in God, trust in Him for great is His faithfulness.  Amen.

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Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2021 at a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

Follow Jesus

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6 NIV

Commitment…dedication…devotion…faithfulness.  The faith journey is more than a one time decision to invite Jesus Christ into your heart and life…that is absolutely the right first step.  The journey continues and spiritual growth occurs with a daily giving of ourselves to the will of God for our lives.  It is prayer about everything, it is learning to let go of those things we cannot control.  It is about learning to accept the love and forgiveness of God in your heart and mind and then turning outward toward others to share that truth in service and kindness.  My prayer is for all of us to follow Jesus each day.  After all, He gave all He had of His life in this world to save us.  Amen.

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“Then he said to them all:  If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Luke 9:23 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at City Park in Winterset, Iowa)

Give Thanks To The Lord

“Praise the Lord.[a]

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.”

Psalm 106:1 NIV

We are saved by grace.  We can not earn it nor do we deserve it.  It is a gift from God.  Let us give thanks to the Lord for all He has done for us.  He is with us, He loves us and He will never leave us.  Amen.

Forever by Chris Tomlin

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“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

Psalm 100 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 along Beartooth Pass in Montana)

Living By The Spirit

But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful 23 and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind.”

Galatians 5:22-23 NIRV

Life by the Spirit is a life that is conscious of our impact on others.  It is not always looking inward and seeking to satisfy the self.  It is a balanced life, living present and not dwelling more on the regrets of the past or trying to control the future.  It is a life that strives to put Christ in the center of everything…this is not easy to achieve in a dark and broken world full of distractions nor are we able to do this alone.  We need to remember God’s grace and receive the Holy Spirit in our hearts…so that His love can flow through us into every aspect of our lives.  Seek a balanced life that is led by the Spirit.  Amen.

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“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:36-40 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 while hiking in Wisconsin near Lake Superior)

Amazing Grace

But God loves us deeply. He is full of mercy. So he gave us new life because of what Christ has done. He gave us life even when we were dead in sin. God’s grace has saved you. God raised us up with Christ. He has seated us with him in his heavenly kingdom. That’s because we belong to Christ Jesus. He has done it to show the riches of his grace for all time to come. His grace can’t be compared with anything else. He has shown it by being kind to us. He was kind to us because of what Christ Jesus has done.”

Ephesians 2:4-7 NIRV

As we close out the year, reflect on where you have seen God in the events of your life.  He was with you the whole time, even when you didn’t acknowledge Him.  God wants good things for you…all that is dark and evil in this world is because of our sin…yet God who is rich in mercy has saved us through His Son.  We are saved by God’s gift of Amazing Grace.  Amen.

Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin

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God’s grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn’t come from anything you do. It is God’s gift. It is not based on anything you have done. No one can brag about earning it. 10 We are God’s creation. He created us to belong to Christ Jesus. Now we can do good works. Long ago God prepared these works for us to do.

Ephesians 2:8-10 NIRV

(This photo was taken in June of 2018 near the border of Minnesota and South Dakota)

Waiting…

 “In Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was a good and godly man. He was waiting for God’s promise to Israel to come true. The Holy Spirit was with him. 26 The Spirit had told Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 The Spirit led him into the temple courtyard. Then Jesus’ parents brought the child in. They came to do for him what the Law required. 28 Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God. He said,

29 “Lord, you are the King over all.
    Now let me, your servant, go in peace.
    That is what you promised.
30 My eyes have seen your salvation.
31     You have prepared it in the sight of all nations.
32 It is a light to be given to the Gentiles.
    It will be the glory of your people Israel.”

Luke 2:25-32 NIRV

Oh, the waiting…our world is always sending out messages to hurry up…save time and literally “don’t wait” act now before…you get the point.  Once again, the world pursues the exact opposite of what we hear from God’s Word.  God wants us to walk with Him…not ahead of Him or on our own without Him.  His timing is perfect because it is His plan.  In Luke 2 we meet Simeon, who had been waiting his whole life to see God’s promise fulfilled in the Messiah…as he expected the promise was fulfilled just like every other promise God has made.  The last promise to be fulfilled is when Christ returns…and so we are waiting for that day and while we wait let’s be like Simeon and be good, do-good things, be godly and be faithful to God’s Word.  How are you doing while you wait?

While I’m Waiting by John Waller

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Dear friends, here is one thing you must not forget. With the Lord a day is like a thousand years. And a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow to keep his promise. He is not slow in the way some people understand it. Instead, he is patient with you. He doesn’t want anyone to be destroyed. Instead, he wants all people to turn away from their sins.”

2 Peter 3:8-9 NIRV

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)