“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…” Often the church focuses on the “gifts of the Spirit” and the abilities to get tasks accomplished with giftedness and excellence over the “fruit of the Spirit” and the character and heart of God’s people. Are the gifts effective outside of the fruit? Why are we tempted in the church to favor gifts? How might this be connected to the original temptation of Adam/Eve? Let the image of Christ himself be formed in me. Amen.
“Surely God is my salvation…make known his deeds.” Isaiah shows the vital connection between joy and thanksgiving of the individual experiencing God’s salvation and the natural flow of making known, proclaiming, and singing it to others. How can we encourage one another to share, sing, and give witness of our individual stories so that all in the congregation and beyond can know of God’s goodness? – Father, let us freely share the stories of your salvation in our lives, so that all may know you.
“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy.” The word, “refuge,” is defined as “a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.” The Psalmist say, God will be that for his people. What pursuers, dangers, or troubles are you facing in your life right now? What would it take to change your troubles into joy? What would it take to get you to sing? What would you sing? Cause me to rejoice and sing O Lord, as you provide safety and shelter in my life. Amen.
“O Lord…in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.” The Psalmist demonstrates an interesting posture in prayer. I, personally, tend to plead my case by trying to do something about it. The Psalmists commits to watch and see what God will do. What is the difference? What are you pleading these days to God? Are you content to watch and trust him? Help me to watch and wait on you O Lord, let me “take refuge in you and rejoice! Amen.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” The fruit of the Spirit produces Godly heart, character, and behaviors. Fruit is singular; it all comes in one package.
We pick love, joy, and peace and decide self-control isn’t for me. How is
self-control necessary for all these other characteristics to be displayed in
our lives? Does self-control characterize my life? Lord Jesus, forgive me for times when I desire to lead with my choice of godly characteristics. Develop the full fruit of the Spirit in me and my ministry. Amen.
|“He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…” Salvation involves “washing,” “rebirth,” and “renewal,” Christian leaders live with the wonderful truth that both in their own lives and in the lives of those we lead change and transformation is possible. Where do I see God’s renewal in my life these days? Who may I think is beyond hope, that God might transform this New Year? – Save us Lord Jesus: wash, rebirth, renew us by the power of the Holy Spirit this year. Amen|
|MERRY CHRISTMAS! “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son…He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.” Jesus, born, growing, living, loving, dying, trusting in his Father; this is how God speaks. This is how he reveals who he is to those whom he loves. Open our eyes, open our ears, open our hearts; that we may know You perfectly in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.|
|“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” The most amazing thing in the entire world is that God wants to be with us. Despite all the mess we’ve made, despite all our sin, despite our continued failings and moves away from his grace, he still wants to be with us. Do I want to be with people like God does? What moves me toward and away from God and people? Thank you for loving us, thank you for being with us Lord Jesus.|
|“Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous…who are upright in heart!” Psalm 32 suggests there can be no joy and gladness where there is hidden sin and rebellion of heart toward God. What is the connection between joy and gladness and righteousness and uprightness of heart? Does joy and gladness characterize our lives as Christians and Christian leaders? Let us learn the lesson of Psalm 32 O Lord and so discover joy and gladness. Amen.|
“O Lord, my God, I will give thanks to you forever.” The Psalmist give thanks for God’s saving actions: healed me (2), restored me (3), and turned weeping/mourning to joy (5, 11). As you reflect on your life today, what stirs gratitude and thanksgiving in you? What words would you use to describe God’s action in your life these days: healing? restoration? others? Heavenly Father, cause use to reflect upon your saving action in our lives that we might respond with true gratitude and thanksgiving. Amen