Tag Archives: joy

The Cinderella Fruit

Image by anwar suseno from Pixabay

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 ESV)

Love is popular. There are songs and poems written about it down the ages. Peace is almost as popular. Everybody wants Love, Peace and Joy at their party. Patience, Kindness, Goodness and Faithfulness are welcome everywhere but don’t get as much limelight as Love, Joy and Peace.

It is easy to spot those Christians where the popular fruit is growing. A loving person or a joyful person are hard to miss. Likewise people growing in peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness are easy to spot.

Self-control is the Cinderella fruit, easily overlooked and undervalued. Yet self-control is a fruit of maturity. We have all come across children who think the world revolves around them and want their desires fulfilled NOW. Hopefully as they grow and mature, with the training of loving parents, they learn a measure of self-control. But true self control is the result of the Holy Spirit working in a surrendered life.

Self-control refuses to be grumpy even when he is tired or hungry. Self-control doesn’t react aggressively when a driver cuts in in front of him or hoots at him. Self-control can discipline himself to spend time with the Lord on a regular basis. Self-control can stick to a diet, can get up on a cold winter’s morning without complaining, can suffer pain and illness without becoming a pain to others and can control his thoughts. Yet the person with self-control is not immediately obvious to all, although the opposite Is perfectly patent.

I am not sure whether the Holy Spirit grows these seven fruits evenly in our lives or whether He causes circumstances which grow a particular one at a specific time. I can certainly think of times in my life where patience training has been noticeable. What have other people experienced? Do you think the Fruit of the Spirit grow evenly in our lives or do certain of the fruit have growth spurts?

My Prayer

Holy Spirit of Jesus, please continue to grow Your fruit in my life that I may conform more closely to the image of Christ. Amen.

For the Joy Set Before Him

JusJoJan 17 January 2022

Hebrews 12:2 says of Jesus, “…For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (NIV)

When Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, He knew exactly what He was about to face. He was in anguish and begged His Father to find another way if He were willing.

“An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.” (Luke 22:43 NIV)

I wonder how the angel strengthened Him. I like to think the angel showed Him visions of the people He loved, the people whose eternal destiny hung in His next decision. I think He saw “snapshots” of us, including you and me, redeemed and with Him in heaven. I believe that was the joy set before Him.

Jesus fulfilled the Father’s will and submitted to His plan of salvation. “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42b NIV)

Jesus went to the cross with a photo of you next to His heart.

Adapted image from Pixabay

My Prayer

Lord Jesus. Thank You for the cross. May I remember that the thought of me brings You joy.

Forty Three Years Ago

JusJoJan 6 January 2022

Today is our anniversary. Forty three years ago I was younger, slimmer and fairly new at being a Christian. I was filled with anticipation but also with nervousness. What would the future hold? I was about to make promises without knowing how our lives would turn out. I loved my fiancé and trusted in his character and his word but, we all know about the divorce rate – and it wasn’t much different then. All those people had also at one stage loved their partners and wanted to make a commitment for life.

In a way, becoming a Christian is something like getting married. We commit ourselves to Someone without knowing the future or how our commitment will be tested. All we know is we love Him, He loves us, and we trust Him with our lives. Quite a daunting prospect! We look forward with anticipation and a certain amount of nervousness.

I think anticipation is a more active version of hope. We have excitement, butterflies in our stomach and a glow of happiness. Hope is a more steady, stable joy that is lasting.

And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5 New American Standard Bible.)

So here I stand, forty three years later looking back on a happy marriage. To be sure it wasn’t always downhill and there were rough patches, set backs and sorrows. But we faced them together and made happy memories.

And I have been journeying with Christ for about forty four years and there have been rough patches and heartaches and the nitty gritty of life, but I’ve never regretted saying yes to Him.

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank You for the wonderful husband You have given me and for the forty three years You’ve walked alongside us in our marriage. May we never loose the anticipation of the future with each other and with You.

Castles in the Sand

We are staying in a beautiful beach house at a time when leisure travel and accommodation is not permitted, by dint of a medical certificate. The beach in front of us has been largely overtaken by fishermen. When we’ve come here before, it’s been as part of a family group. Now it’s just us. We miss the grandchildren. Where’s the fun of having all this beach sand with no grandchildren to build sandcastles with? So we had to become like little children and build on our own. Once we got started, we actually had fun.

Later in the day, a group of fishermen and their families came down to the beach. A boy of about ten attracted our attention. He was wearing bright red shorts and doing cartwheels along the sand. Later, he took off his shorts and ran into the sea, his brown body glistening with salt water. After his swim, he ran along the beach. When he came to our sand castle, he stopped, examined it carefully then ran round and round it before running back to the fishing group. I was impressed by his sense of joy, fun and enthusiasm.

When Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 18:3 NIV,) I always thought He was talking about the unwavering trust of a child, the unconditional acceptance. Now I think He also meant that joy, that fun, which children find in everyday life. Nobody who has ever watched a little child delight in a ladybird, or even a snail, can resist the wonder of innocence. I think heaven is going to be a fun place, a place where we can just enjoy all the things God has for us.

We don’t have to wait for heaven. This beautiful earth that God has created for us, is full of things that inspire wonder and appreciation. Instead of rushing past them, or looking at all the things that are wrong with the world, wouldn’t it be fun to experience God’s gifts “new every morning?”

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)

Pandemics and Plagues

I read an interesting piece on our church’s website this morning called the Plague of Plagues by Michael Philips. It is quite long but thought provoking and very biblical and it turned my thoughts once more in the direction of viruses and sin.

I am a microbiologist by training and I learned a bit of virology, as well as a bit of bacteriology, mycology, immunology, biochemistry and assorted other -ologies. I have often linked in my mind sin to some kind of infection so let’s play and pretend sin is a virus. Unlike earthly viruses, this one infects the soul as well as the body.

Patients zero were Adam and Eve. The virus quickly spread through mother to child transmission as well as contact with other infected people and now everybody has got it.

The symptoms are obvious. Paul gives a list in 1 Cor 6:9-10. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? He then goes on to list some of the symptoms:- sexual immorality, idolatory, adultery, theft, greed, slander. There are other symptoms and they all fall into the category of ignoring God, His commands, His gifts, His love. Instead people want to do things their own way making themselves into gods.

Society down the ages has done their best to treat the symptoms, just like we might take decongestants for our cold. It will not cure us, only take away the symptoms. The Ten Commandments were a set of laws designed to treat the symptoms in society and model what cured people might look like. Other societies have laws and customs that do the same. With varying degrees of success they try to limit murder, theft, and antisocial behaviour with punishments which deter many from giving in to the tendencies which are symptomatic of the infection.

There is a cure. Think of it as a blood transfusion. …and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7b NIV)

Adapted from a Image by Ahmad Ardity from Pixabay

If we get a blood transfusion with blood that contains antibodies to the virus, we will slowly get better as the virus is neutralised. It doesn’t happen overnight, but slowly we get better. This is a once off treatment. However, to be totally clear of the virus and to prevent re-infection, we need our bodies to make more antibodies. Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit to enable this process. We become sanctified. Again, it is a slow process and some of the symptoms take a long time to disappear because of damage that they have caused to our bodies and spirits.

John goes on to say in verses 8 and 9, If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Imagine if, at the time of your blood transfusion, the doctor gave you a certificate saying you were no longer infectious, even though you might still have a symptom or two. This certificate could give you access to places you could not normally enter as an infected person. You could go through the screening processes with impunity. You could even have access to the Kingdom of Heaven which has a very strict anti-infection policy.

I’m sure trained ministers and pastors would pick holes in my analogy, but I had fun. Hope you did too.

An encouraging verse to leave you with as we all think about viruses, infections, quarantines, lockdowns, prohibitions, economic collapse and the like.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NIV)

Sonnet – my last Poetry assignment.

Today’s assignment, and the last one (sigh) is a sonnet about pleasure, including Apostrophe, which is not what I thought it was.

Unearthly Joy

You are, O God, my Father, all my Joy,merle-552070_640

My everlasting fount of all delight,

You give me gifts, like birdsong to enjoy,

And music makes my burdened soul take flight.

When Earth’s great bounty overflows in Spring,

And Jasmine, roses, blossoms strew my way,bee-104628_640

Your overwhelming beauty pleasure brings,

Like fiery sunsets at the close of day.

 

Yet best of all the love of family and kin,

Those sticky grandchild kisses on my cheek,generations-462134_640

My husband’s warm embrace upon my skin,

My children’s love and interest in my week.

Yet life itself is knowing You, my God,

And Jesus Christ, your Son, my only Lord.

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