Bearing Fruit

Hello everybody! Happy Saturday!

I get to share my last installment of the Parable of the Sower study today! I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey with me – I know I’ve learned a lot. As always, here are links to part one, part two, and part three, in case you need to catch up. 🙂

We’ve seen three different planting scenarios so far in the Parable of the Sower. First, there were the seeds that fell in the path. Those didn’t even sprout because the birds ate them immediately. Next the seeds fell in stony ground, where rocks kept the plants from rooting deep and getting the water they needed. Then came the seeds that fell into thorny ground. These seeds did survive – they sprouted and grew, but they were choked out by the many weeds around them and never bore fruit.

Each scenario showed something different happening to the seed. And each scenario represented a different response of the heart to God’s Seed, His Word.

This week’s seed falls into good ground… and the response that it represents is my favorite!

 

Come See My Sunflowers…

If you were to visit our house this month, I would show you my sunflowers. I love their bright cheery color and their majestic friendliness. I have about ten plants at the back of my garden, and they really do brighten my day!

I don’t have ten because I planted ten. Actually, I planted twenty in that plot. Each seed was carefully placed the correct distance apart from the previous seed, the correct depth from the surface.

But only ten came up. Maybe it happened like the parable. Maybe a lucky bird that got an easy supper. Maybe there were too many baby weeds vying for nourishment, or a stray rock blocked the plant roots from sinking deep. It could have been anything.

And all of that is not to say that the ten plants that made it are bearing sunflowers. No, only about five are actually making good on their full potential.

But those five are glorious! Bright yellows stained with a gorgeous autumnal orange. I’ve had five or six different flowers on each plant in the past few weeks. They are beautiful.

 

“And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:8)

At first glance, it seems like the sower was losing more than he was gaining. Between the birds and the stones and the weeds, he was out a lot of seeds! Hopefully he had a better average than I did with my sunflowers…

His seeds that do grow to be healthy plants more than make up for the others though! One seed produces thirty new seeds, another seed produces sixty, another a hundred. With plants like that, he’ll have plenty of grain for food as well as seeds to plant next season.

Jesus says that these seeds represent Christians. They hear the Word of God proclaimed, they receive it in their hearts, and it grows in them until they bear the spiritual fruit that God intended them to bear – more seeds!

What If It Happened Like This?

It’s been five years since Stella first heard the good news about Jesus Christ and accepted it, and her life has never been the same. Sure, she’s had her moments – times when she’s slipped back into her old way of living and times when she’s doubted. But God has always brought her back, forgiven her sin, and reminded her of truth. And every time He’s brought her back, her love for Him has deepened. She loves telling the people that she bumps into about what God has done in her life!

 

I Want This to Happen in Me!

The seed has been planted. In my life, it started with my parents. They have faithfully shared Bible verses and Bible truths with me for as long as I can remember. God, as the Master Sower, used them to plant His Word deep in my heart, and it’s not going anywhere!

The plant has sprouted and grown. My faith has been nurtured by godly pastors and teachers. My heart has been weeded and watered and prepared for the hot summer sun. God’s Word has grown in my heart, rooting deeper, reaching farther, and stretching higher.

But this isn’t everything that God wants for me. The Master Sower has planted, and the seed has grown – now it’s time for fruit!

 

The Fruit

I find it fascinating that the plant in the parable produces grain. It seems obvious until you realize – that means more seeds! We usually think of godly character traits or good works when we think of the fruit that we’re supposed to bear as Christians.

But in this parable, we’re producing Seeds. More Seeds to spread for the Master Sower. Isn’t that an amazing thought?!

Now take it a step further. How much grain does the plant in the parable produce? Thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and a hundredfold. That’s a lot of grain! It’s as if the plant understood the purpose that God had for its life was to bear fruit, so it threw itself into bearing fruit with its whole heart and soul.

God wants me to produce more seeds for Him to scatter. And He wants me to do it abundantly!

 

A Little Application…

  1. I am so thankful for the opportunity to read God’s Word every day. And I am so thankful to be in a church that teaches God’s Word faithfully. His Word is strengthening the seed that God planted in my heart so long ago, and it’s helping me grow!
  2. The more I understand the Word of God, the better I am able to weather the storms of life. Because life isn’t easy. The rocks come up, the sun gets hot, the weeds get thick. God gives us His Word to help us over the rocks, to shelter us from the sun, and to convict us when the weeds grow too fierce. We cannot survive without it!
  3. The more I understand God’s Word, His character, and His gospel, the more I love Him! Of course I still stumble and fall, but He always sets me on my feet again. And I love Him more every time He does. That’s what compels me to live according to His Word. That’s what compels me to pursue a closer relationship with Him. And that’s what compels me to share gospel seeds with the people around me.

 

May I leave you with a challenge?

Where are you in the parable? Have you received the seed? Are you letting it grow? Are you taking care of the rocks and weeds that come up in your life?

Are you bearing fruit?

 

The End!

Thanks again for joining me on this walk through the Parable of the Sower. Studying this passage has given me a huge love for this parable. I hope it has been as encouraging for you!

Blessings!

Erin

Tending the Garden

Hi my friends! Happy Friday!

Here’s part three of my Parable of the Sower study! I have enjoyed taking a deeper look at these verses, and I hope you have too. Here are links to part one and part two in case you need to catch up. 🙂

In interest of review… The parable of the sower is a story in which a farmer goes out to sow his seeds, and four different planting scenarios arise. Jesus uses these scenarios to picture four different responses to the gospel. We’ve already looked at the seeds that were eaten by birds and the seeds that fell into rocky soil. This week we get to explore the seeds that fall into thorny ground.

Personal Experience…

Speaking of thorny ground, my vegetable garden is not very show-worthy this year. Maybe I’m the only one, but I always seem to start the season with great intentions – consistent weeding, consistent watering, proper care, and a bumper crop, right?

Somehow I fall short somewhere between June and July. Good intentions take a backseat to more pressing house chores, and I end up where I am today – tired plants that look a little worse for wear, and healthy weeds that are thriving. At least I was smart this year and planted zinnias in front of my veggies. The weeds are a little less noticeable. 🙂

 

“Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain…” (Mark 4:7)

The sower from the parable had trouble with weeds too. (See? We’re in good company!) As the seeds germinated and grew, so thorns popped up too and crowded out the seeds that the sower had planted. As a result, the baby plants were choked and prevented from producing grain. Jesus explains later that these plants represent people who hear the gospel but are distracted by the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things. Their distraction prevents them from bearing the spiritual fruit that God intended them to bear.

What if it happened like this?

Amy has a good life. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and their kids are excelling in school and in sports. She and her husband both work long hours, but the pay is great, and they’ve recently put a down-payment on their dream house. Their spare time goes to the family hobby – soccer. Between coaching, practice, camps, and away games, life is jam-packed with good things. Amy was raised in a Christian family, but with everything else going on, she finds it hard to make it to church regularly. “I know it’s important, but there are so many other things happening right now…”

This isn’t hard to picture, is it? Especially in the American-dream-driven culture that we live in. It’s so easy to get involved in extra stuff, and it’s so hard to say no. The tragedy occurs when we allow these lesser priorities to take over the time that we should be devoting to God.

The Thorns…

As Jesus explains this parable, He identifies three types of thorns that can choke out the seed of the Word of God. He mentions the cares of this world, which are our everyday worries – making a living, paying the bills, visiting the doctor. The deceitfulness of riches is next in the line-up – the siren call of a potential pay raise, a substantial 401k, or a lucrative stock market. Finally, Jesus speaks of the desires for other things – a bigger house, a nicer car, a fancy vacation.

Do you see these things in Amy’s American dream? She has a great family, a successful job, a nice home, and a happily busy schedule… a schedule that is choking out her time with God. None of Amy’s “stuff” is bad in and of itself, but these extra things are taking over the garden of her heart and crowding out the Seed that is really important.

Christians Can Struggle With This Too…

So what about me? Is the garden of my heart well-tended and clear of weeds? Or is there “stuff” in my life that seems innocent enough, but is actually preventing me from nurturing God’s Word in my heart?

We’re never going to be finished with weeds. Anyone with a garden can testify to that! The key with a garden is to be consistent – to spend a little time on a regular basis finding the little rascals and rooting them out. That way we don’t end up with an overgrown mess on our hands! The same is true of our hearts. While we might not be able to see the thorns in our life, God does. And He wants to help us root those out.

I’m going to be honest – I don’t have the strength to root these thorns out by myself. But God does! My prayer is that God will give me a love for Him that is greater than my love for the things of this world. That He would tend my garden, nurture His Word, and cause it to bear His spiritual fruit in my life.

Let God tend your garden. And trust Him as He does – He’s the master gardener!

Praying for you!

~ Erin

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Dealing with Rocks

Hi everybody! Happy Friday!

I’m so excited to share this next installment of my Parable of the Sower study. If you missed my first one, you can find it here. 🙂

Last week I wrote about the sower and the seeds and the path and the birds. I illustrated what that scenario might look like today, and I shared what I had been learning about how this passage applies directly to our lives as a Christians. I hope to do the same with the seed and the rocks today!

A Bit about Rocks…

Being a recent resident of Iowa and therefore surrounded by farmers, I’m beginning to understand this situation a little better than I did before. Every year, farmers plow their fields and prepare them for their crops, and part of that process is “picking rock.” Which is basically a lot of long hot hours walking through massive fields, picking out the rocks and stones that have surfaced when the farmer plowed the field. And the job never ends! Somehow there are always more rocks to pick out, to the point that people joke about growing rocks as well as corn and soybeans.

Why spend all this time picking rocks out of a field? I’m sure there are a few reasons, but the one that is relevant to the Parable of the Sower is that rocks prevent the baby plants from growing properly. Rocks block the root systems of the plants so they can’t reach deep into the soil and find the water and nutrients that these plants need to survive the sun’s heat.

“Other seed fell on rocky ground…” (Mark 4:5)

So when the sower’s seeds fall on rocky ground, the baby plants spring up quickly, but there are too many stones in the way to take root. The sun quickly scorches the baby plants because they have not established the deep roots that they need to survive the hot climate. Jesus explains that these seeds represent people who hear the gospel and receive it gladly, but when hardship or persecution confront them, they abandon their faith and fall away.

What if it looked like this?

“Jesus died to save you, and He wants to change your life. You just have to accept Him.” I want a changed life, thinks Jenna, so she accepts Him. She’s excited about her new-found faith, and she begins telling her friends about the decision she’s made. But in the next week, her doctor informs her that she has cancer, likely months to live. Her friends mean well, but they can’t help asking questions. “Why is this happening to you if Jesus is supposed to make your life better?”

This is an extreme example, but it makes my point. Sometimes people “accept Jesus” with the wrong expectations. They think a “changed life” means a better life, a healthy life, or a comfortable life. They don’t realize that’s not what Jesus promises. Jesus says He will give Christians eternal life, but He also says Christians will undergo hard times in this life. They will be scoffed at and persecuted. So when the hard times and scoffers and persecutions come, these people who have accepted Jesus for a “changed life” are disappointed, and they reject their new-found faith as some cheap trick. They abandon their faith and fall away.

Believers Can Struggle With This Too…

Like I mentioned in the previous post, this parable is primarily about the different responses that unbelievers can have toward the gospel. But there is application for believers as well! It’s easy for us to allow expectations to creep into our minds, just like Jenna. Expectations of a healthy family, a growing church, children who are walking with the Lord… After all, we are serving the Lord, right? Surely He’ll bless us with those things…

But that’s not what God promises. He doesn’t promise to remove all hardship from our lives.

Our Story

My husband and I got a small taste of this last year. Our son was a classic “blue baby,” diagnosed with a heart defect when he was less than 48 hours old. He had open heart surgery three days later, and he spent ten days in the hospital for recovery. Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of the day we brought Little Buddy home from the hospital. 🙂

Our story isn’t unique – there are many who have gone through much harder circumstances. But for His own reasons, God wanted the three of us to have this particular experience. He wanted to use it in our lives to grow us, to increase our faith in Him, and to give us opportunities to share the gospel. Was it hard? Yes! I still tear up when I think about those hard days. But I also tear up when I think of how God walked with us through it – the Bible passages that we clung to, the family and friends and pastors who encouraged us, and the people who were praying for us literally all over the world.

That’s what God promises us – to walk with us through the hard times.

A Bit of Application

Rocks are going to come up in our lives. Like the farmers in Iowa, we’re never going to be fully rid of them. But I don’t think we have to let them shake our faith. My prayer for me, for my family, and for you, is Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:17-19 – that we might be “rooted and grounded” in Christ’s love, knowing that His love for us surpasses anything that we could comprehend.

We can trust that He knows what He’s doing when the rocks come up.

Praying for you! Until next time!

~ Erin

 

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The Parable of the Sower

Hello, my friends! Happy Tuesday to you all!

It’s been a little crazy at our house this week – we celebrated Little Buddy’s first birthday on Saturday, spent time with church and some friends traveling through all day on Sunday, and now my husband is down with a head cold. Yikes! I think we’re headed into a normal week, though, so hopefully life will slow down soon. 🙂

A Little Piece of Life…

One exciting part of life lately has been a Bible study that I’ve been able to start up with a couple of the girls in our church. We’re focusing on relationships, addressing first our most important relationship – our walk with God.

In studying for this past lesson, I spent some time in the parable of the sower (Mark 4), and I enjoyed the study so much, I thought I’d share some of it with you!

The parable of the sower is a story in which Jesus uses four different planting scenarios to picture four different responses to the gospel. I’m just going to talk about the first scenario here. Stay tuned for the rest of the series in the coming weeks!

The Seed and the Birds

The parable begins as the sower goes out to plant his field. In Jesus’ day, all of the farmers planted their seeds by hand, casting them into the soil. As this sower casts his seed, some of the seeds fall on the path. These seeds have no chance to grow whatsoever – they are exposed to the elements and the birds quickly eat them. Jesus explains later that these birds represent Satan. When someone hears God’s Word for the first time, Satan is all too glad to snatch the Word from that person’s heart.

And really, this might be more common than we’d think. What if it looks like this?

Dan and Sue visit church for the first time in ages as a favor to a friend. They find the pastor preaches from the Bible, and he presents them with the gospel. But as they walk through the parking lot toward their car after church, Dan suddenly remembers that one of their taillights is out. “We’re going to have to stop by the hardware store this afternoon…”

See what just happened? Something completely innocuous has caught their attention, and now Dan and Sue intent on fixing the taillight. That’s innocent enough, but it has taken their attention from the good news of salvation that they just heard in church. A bird has come and snatched away the seed.

 

Believers Can Struggle With This Too!

This parable is primarily about the different responses that unbelievers can have toward the gospel, but there is application for believers as well. Jesus’ story shows us that one of Satan’s strategies in preventing Christian growth is distracting us from God’s Word. Who are we to assume that he only uses this strategy with unbelievers?

Truthfully, I find myself in this position more often than I like to admit. If I don’t make it a priority to spend time with God at the beginning of the day, I struggle to make it happen it all. Once my day has started, my mind is focused on other things – getting the dishes washed, moving clothes washer to dryer, keeping Little Buddy occupied as I prepare lunch… It’s a challenge to set everything aside to read God’s Word and pray.

And even reading in the morning can be challenging. My body is still waking up, and my eyes are bleary. I’m watching the clock to keep our morning routines on schedule, and I’m beginning to think through the events of the day. It’s embarrassing how often I find my mind wandering from my time with God.

If this is your struggle too, be comforted. You’re not the only one! Make a plan to spend time with God. Ask Him to keep you consistent and focused. Keep a pen and paper handy and write down your distractions as you spend time with Him – those distractions will still be there when you’re done. 🙂

Our time with God is too precious to miss. Stay faithful, and He will honor that!

I’m compiling a list of practical tips for spending time with God in Bible study, prayer, and memorization, and I hope to post it soon. Do you have any tips that have helped you? Let me know in the comments below or drop me a note via my contact page, and I’ll add them to my list!

In the meantime, I hope you have a great day!

~ Erin

When Life Gets Expensive…

This summer has been a little dramatic at our house. Chaotic. Expensive.

I’d have to say it started with the back water spigot. You know something’s wrong when you get a man-made lake in the basement because you tried to water the garden with the hose. Enter the plumber.

Next came the heating and cooling man. Our air conditioner hasn’t ever cooled the house efficiently for us, and we really needed to get that looked at before the summer got too hot. The dicey part started when the AC guy told us our air conditioner must have been original to the house. That model is now “out of print,” so to speak, so the only option is to buy a brand new machine. And by the way, your furnace is on its last leg too…

Cue the dentist. “You really need to make an appointment for a root canal as soon as possible…”

Yikes!

We’re not the only ones this happens to, are we? Of course not. But to be honest, it was really hard to count blessings for a while there.

Enter our Heavenly Father with His wonderful promises and His impeccable timing. I tested positive on the day they installed the new air conditioner and furnace. Pregnant. A baby!

It’s almost like God was telling us, “You’re so worried about these temporary possessions…. Here’s an eternal treasure to restore your perspective.”

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God doesn’t promise us an easy life. He doesn’t promise to give us incredible wealth or perfect health. But for Christians, He does promise a home with Him in eternity. Our goal in life is not get as much stuff as we can. (Newsflash: The one with the most toys at the end does not win!) Our bank account will one day pass into nonexistence. But our children? Our salvation? Our home with God? These things are truly lasting.

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Where Does the Time Go?

Is there ever enough time in the day? Maybe it’s just me, but it’s pretty often that I feel like there’s not! It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by the list of things that need to get done.

But here’s a new thought. God knows exactly what’s on my list of things to do before I even write it. He knows how much time I would need to get all of those items checked off my list. He knows all of the little things that will interrupt my plans, and He knows how He is going to use those things for my good and His glory.

He also knows what He wants me to do today.

And He has already given me exactly the right amount of time to accomplish His plan.

So maybe I’m not feeling overwhelmed because I’m lacking in time… Maybe I’ve got things on my to-do list that aren’t on God’s to-do list. Maybe my priorities aren’t matching up with God’s priorities. Maybe I’m holding onto My Plan for the day a little too tightly.

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Did you know that God cares about time and to-do lists and priorities? He does! Check out these verses…

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welcome and not for evil…  ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will do to such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”  ~ James 4:13-15

O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!  ~ Psalm 39:4-5

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.  ~ Psalm 90:12

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  ~ Ephesians 5:15-16

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.  ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.  ~ Proverbs 16:3

I’ll be the first to say I’m not very good at time management. I love planning out my day, but I overbook myself, I prioritize the good things over the best things, and I end up feeling overwhelmed. So here’s one more verse to give us hope!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!   ~ Lamentations 3:22-23

I love that passage, mostly because I need it. Amen and amen! 🙂

~ Erin

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Choosing Joy

Choosing Joy

I’ve been so excited about what God has been teaching me about joy lately! I have been continuing my word study on joy in the Bible, and it is changing my life. If you are a Christian, it is possible for you to have joy constantly, and as a result, I’ve learned a lot about how to choose joy when life gets difficult. Below are a few of my favorite verses on joy, verses that I try to bring to mind when I don’t feel like being joyful. 🙂

Seven Bible Verses about Joy

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.   – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.   – Romans 5:11

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.   – James 1:2-4

The joy of the LORD is your strength.   – Nehemiah 8:10

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing….   – Romans 15:13

God is my exceeding joy; therefore I will praise Him!   – Psalm 43:4

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!   – Philippians 4:4

 

I believe that God is Who He says He is in His Word.
I believe that His Son Jesus Christ has died for my sins and risen again. 
Therefore, I have JOY no matter what the circumstances.
I will seek to praise Him all the days of my life.
I will give thanks to Him through all eternity.

I’d Rather Have Joy

I’d Rather Have Joy

I’ve been doing a word study on joy in the Bible, and I have learned so much along the way. I have more joy as a result of understanding what the Bible says about it, so I would like to share a bit of what I have learned with you. 🙂

First, my study has cemented in my mind the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is a feeling of pleasure or thankfulness at something that has happened in life. It is based on good, fortunate, or lucky circumstances. In fact, my Webster’s dictionary says the word “happiness” came from an Old Norse word “hap,” which meant luck. We still use derivatives of this word today: “I happened to see Sara today. The meeting was pure happenstance.” Obviously, the words happy and lucky are not really synonyms today, but they are related.

Biblical joy is a feeling that is similar to happiness, but it has a completely different base. Here’s my working definition of Biblical joy – Joy is a feeling that comes from an intense wonder at and gratitude for who God is and what He has done for us.

Instead of being based on good circumstances, joy is based on God’s character and work on our behalf. That is why Christians are able to have a positive outlook even in the darkest moments of their lives. It’s not a natural optimism or a misplaced hope for better times. Their joy is a confidence that God is still who He says He is. Circumstances may change in a moment, but God’s character will remain unchanged forever.

I believe God is who He says He is in the Bible, and I believe He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for my sins and rise again. Every day I am filled with wonder at how this holy God could love me enough to die for me, and I have joy. The Psalmist said it best – “God is my exceeding joy, therefore I will praise Him!” Psalm 43:4.

All of this is not to say that happiness is wrong. I think happiness is a good thing, a gift from God. Still, knowing that happiness will only last as long as the times are good, I think I’d rather have joy.

Any thoughts? I would love to hear them!

Evident

Evident

I came across Galatians 5:22-23 this morning in studying out joy. I love these verses, because they remind me of the plans that God has for my life. As He sanctifies me and I walk with Him, He will work these qualities in my life.

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

What struck me as new this morning was the context of the passage where these verses are found. In Galatians 5:16-26, Paul is exhorting the Galatians to walk by the Spirit. He wants them to live daily life desiring what the Spirit desires. He contrasts walking by the Spirit with walking by the flesh, giving a list of fleshly sins before moving on to the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:19 says, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality…” and the list goes on. Paul’s point is that walking by the flesh results in fruit, the works of the flesh, and these are actions that are evident to people looking on. The Greek root for the word evident is “shining.” These works are apparent, outward, known, there for everyone to see.

Now I thought this next part was fascinating! Just as walking by the flesh produces works of the flesh (fruit!), so walking by the Spirit will produce works – the fruit of the Spirit. The thoughts are parallel in the text. And just as the fruit of the flesh is evident, so the fruit of the Spirit should be evident.

The fruit of the Spirit are not just soft fluffy feelings we get when we’re saved. These qualities have hands and feet, practical application in our lives. Love and joy and peace and the rest should be actions that make God’s work in my life evident.

How does this affect my daily life as a wife and mommy? Am I loving my husband and my son well, putting their needs above my own? Am I demonstrating joy when life is difficult and peace when life is worrisome? How am I already demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit, and what are ways that I can grow?

I’m excited by what God is teaching me with these verses. I love it when His Word is made so practical for my daily life! Any other thoughts on Galatians 5? What has God been teaching you? 🙂

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Making God’s Word Personal

I was looking up a few verses today and came across a treasure. Romans 5 describes the believer’s relationship with God, and I think it’s one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. Read through verses 1-11. Paul uses words like “we” and “our” because he is talking about Christians collectively – these verses are true for every single person who has trusted Jesus Christ to save them from their sins. Notice how powerful these verses are when we personalize them!

Therefore, since I have been justified by faith, I have peace with God through my Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him I have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which I stand, and I rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but I rejoice in my sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put me to shame, because God’s love has been poured into my heart through the Holy Spirit who has been given to me.

For while I was still weak, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly [for me!]. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows His love for me in that while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. Since, therefore, I have now been justified by His blood, much more shall I be saved by Him from the wrath of God. For if while I was an enemy I was reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that I am reconciled, shall I be saved by His life. More than that, I also rejoice in God through my Lord Jesus Christ, through whom I have now received reconciliation.

I just love these truths! I was a sinner, ungodly, and an enemy of God. He loved me anyway, so much that He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die for me. He took my place, died where I should have died, so I could live and be reconciled with God. I have absolute faith in that truth, and because I believe it to be true, I have been justified through the blood of Jesus Christ. Now I have peace with God. I have access to Him and His grace, His unmerited favor, and I rejoice in the hope He has given me.

Isn’t that amazing?!? God’s Word is so precious. Any thoughts? I’d love to hear them!

~ Erin