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Thursday, June 12, 2014

I will Praise You

Even in the midst of abundance, I will praise you

Even in the midst of struggles, I will praise you

Even in the midst of uncertainty, I will praise you

Even in the midst of pain, I will praise you

Even in the midst of doubt, I will praise you

Lord, in the midst of all areas of life, I praise you.  1 Peter 4:11 " that in ALL things God may be praised"...not some things, but ALL things.

I praise you for who you are - the risen son of God

I praise you for what you have done in my life

I praise you for the plans you have for me

I praise you for loving me unconditionally - for there are times I don't deserve it

I praise you when I have needs - for it teaches me to cling to you

I praise you for times of plenty - for it teaches me to give and to be thankful

I praise you when I am downtrodden - for it is then that you carry me

I want to praise you in ALL things, good or bad.

I want to be UNDIGNIFIED in my praise.  I raise my hands in surrender to your unfailing love and gracious mercies

Lord, you are worthy of so much more than I give, and today I surrender - arms open wide - and give you my all. 

I praise you in the storm

I praise you in the peace and calm after the winds have ravaged me.

I praise you through it all because in MY praise, it helps me to remember WHO YOU ARE:

            KING OF KINGS
            LORD OF LORDS
            PRINCE OF PEACE
            ABBA FATHER
            ALPHA AND OMEGA
            HOLY OF HOLY'S

Today I PRAISE you!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Producing Good Fruit

John 15:5  "I am the vine, you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit"

What does that mean, bear much fruit?  Gal 5:22-23 tells us what fruit we are to bear - "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control"  When these virtues become evident in you, its a sign the Holy Spirit is working in your life. 

Love, joy,  and peace are feelings or attitudes of God.  They are WHO God is.   If you find you don't have enough love, joy and peace in your life, then get closer to God by spending time in His word, in prayer, in worship.  Turn the channel on the radio in the car to Christian music and worship him.  Turn the radio off and pray.  Find ways to spend more time with Him.  He pours Himself into you when you worship Him.

Patience (which is longsuffering), kindness and goodness are the way we should be, especially around others.  Patience to wait on God, patience with other people.  Kindness that is no respecter of persons - kind to all at all times.  Goodness to those who don't deserve it.  Remember, God is good all the time, no matter how bad we are. 

Faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are the way we act.   We will always lack in these areas without the help of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.  We need a constant outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives in order to have the self-control God is wanting in us.  We just can't do it on our own.

The only way to have these 9 fruits of the spirit is through the Holy Spirit.  Without him, we succumb to fear, anger, sadness, doubt, impatience, unforgiveness and judgmentalism - the opposite of the fruits of the spirit. 

So, how do we grow and keep producing good fruit if we are walking in the ways of the Holy Spirit?  What about those times when God seems distant or quiet?  Those are times of pruning...when God is cutting out the parts of our life that need to be discarded in order for new fruit to grow. 

 During these times of pruning, it may feel God is silent, but unless you are walking in sin, God is preparing you for a new season  of fruit-bearing.  Pruning is the Holy Spirits way of stripping away from us certain attitudes, habits of thought and action, unnecessary possessions and goals that are not what the Lord wants for us right now.  Letting go of unnecessary things frees us to receive more of what God wants to impart to us.

Any sin without repentance will keep us from bearing good fruit.  The fruit of the spirit will only be visible in someone who lives in OBEDIENCE to God's way.  When our flesh is in control, we do things we don't want to do.  
       Rom 8:5 "Those who live according to the sinful nature have their           minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires".

This is a constant battle.  Prides makes us think we can get away with disobedience.  Pride makes people think they can do WHAT they want, WHEN they want.  It what causes people who know better to do wrong.  Ever happen to you?  It can happen to any one of us in an unmonitored or weak moment.   We don't have to strive to produce good fruit.  We just have to stop planting bad seeds and learn to plant good ones.  We must walk daily with Jesus and stay in CONSTANT communication with Him. This is a CHOICE we make.

Have you been producing good fruit?  If no, then what can you do today, what choice can you make to help you grow?  Do you feel distant from God?  Is there unrepented sin in your life that is causing you to be choked off from the living vine?  What can be pruned away from your life in order to open up the life found in the branch?  Don't waste time - we aren't promised tomorrow.  Too many people live as if they have time - time is precious and we need to connect to the source of living water TODAY!   I know I am!!!  Time to start cutting away!