Going Deeper With God: The Relationship Factor


Ugly confession time, but I know that hidden things coming to light can bring life to not only myself but others as well.
Many years of my marriage were wasted as I held my love for my husband back. I didn’t even consciously know I was doing this until the revelation came that I was waiting for my husband to leave me.
I was always on edge, expecting him to see all the ways that I did not measure up. I would even lash out in fear, pushing him away and retreating to what I thought was safe, behind a wall of pride and control.
Thankfully my husband took the words in scripture literally and followed the call for husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church.
He would patiently and gracefully walk me through all the emotions and pain. Even when the hurt was so evident on his face he would not take his love away from me. He would also show his love, by letting me process my emotions and give me what I needed at the moment.
Suddenly one day I realized I was equating my husband’s compacity to love me to those that would not. I was waiting for him to leave me like the others that chose to walk away, mock, or torment me. I was doing this in other relationships as well and destroying good things the Lord had in store. But it wasn’t until I recognized it within my marriage that the blinders came off.
When this revelation came, I also realized I had believed this was how the Lord’s love for me worked.
I always thought I had to do everything right. I thought if I messed up too big, the Lord would retreat from me. I waited for God to leave me as well. But through my husband’s amazing love, I suddenly saw with my own eyes, how God’s love worked and the key was understanding my identity. I am HIS child. I am wanted. I am created for fellowship with God almighty!
He always wants the relationship. He never retreats. He always waits.

We are created FOR a relationship with God. When we have repented and come to Him, He is there. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Romans 8:38-39
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We can’t go deeper with God until we realize we were created for a deep relationship.

We can’t go deeper with God until we let the walls be removed that try to separate us from His love. He does not love us with a human capacity, but a GOD capacity. It is us that retreats. It is us that hides behind walls (sin and disobedience). 

In the beginning, God created man. Sin separated man from receiving all that the Lord had in store. 

SO… God in His great love, sent the very one that could bridge the gap for all of our shortcomings. We can not measure up, but God sent the one that made it so that we would not have to.

This is how Grace works. The unmerited ( free and not deserved) favor of God is a gift for his CHILDREN

He so loved us that He made a way that we would not have to retreat behind a wall of ugly to avoid being exposed. He already knows all of our mess and STILL wants us. 

So to go deeper with God, I pray you to realize how valuable and wanted you are. He is waiting with His arms open, with no condemnation (strong disapproval), for there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ. 


Now it is with great joy and freedom that I am blessed to love my husband. It is in this kind of freedom that I get to love God and allow His love to wash over me.

This is what we were created for, to fellowship in His goodness and glory.
We were created in the likeness of God. We don’t need to stay in the ugliness but walk into the freedom of a relationship. It is important to realize that just as I want to do the things that bring great joy to our marriage, I want to bring joy to my heavenly father.
I want to serve him. I want to bless his day and see a smile on his face. When we are rejoicing over the good things the father has for us and are eager to love and serve him it is then that we can go deeper and not focus on every action, but the one that gives us the ability to stay in freedom.

I mentioned in my previous post, think of a bride hiding behind a veil her whole entire marriage. What if this bride never let her husband see her true self or feel her lips on his lips without a barrier? Not only would she be hindering her husband’s joy in connection to her, but she would also be limiting her great joy as well. This was exactly what I had been doing.

Ask yourself if perhaps you are hiding behind barriers that hinder you from going deeper into your connection with God. Do you see your relationship through judgment, fear, and a master waiting for you to do wrong? Or do you see your relationship as one of a great connection that is to be treasured, revered, and rejoiced over? Because I know the gift is there for those that are willing to receive.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is Freedom

This season has been one where I just want to rest in worship and prayer. Everthing else pales in comparison. I go about the daily and the musts but in my resting I just sit and open my heart to an awareness of Him. I can sit in those moments for hours and it feels as if only moments have gone by.

The words that have been rising in my heart these last few weeks are;
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.”

When I am stressing over the medical testing, finances, politics, COVID restrictions, family, my next, or whatever other thing that comes to my mind at any given moment, I stop and just acknowledge that presence that indwells me.

It is not about the ‘rules’ but the relationship. I don’t have to have everything figured out in the coming. I come and He meets me, every single time. There is freedom no matter my mess as the atmosphere is changed when I am aware that He is in it.

The amazing thing about the new relationship with God that we have through Jesus and what he did for us on the cross, is that the veil has been torn. We don’t have to go through all the hoops to enter into the glory of God. We have access to the father at any moment that we are taking the time to be aware of Him.

Think of a bride. How would the intamacy in marriage be if she wore a veil over her face at all times? What if her groom had never felt the tenderness of her lips without the barrier?
So often we keep our walls up because we are afraid we are not doing everything right and don’t want to be exposed. But never forget that the father already knows and still waits with his arms opened wide.

Now mind you there are things that we can do to enhance our intimate times with the Lord, and I will be going over that this month on the topic “Going Deeper With God.” But, we have access to Him at all times. We are the ones that let the barriers rise. He has given us FREEDOM in His Spirit. He has given us access to the glory. The Spirit of the Lord is our gift and connection.

As for me, I am going to drink from that life. I will stop and let the concerns of this world fade away as I just commune with the Father and rest in His glory.
He is a good good father, that desires us to recieve the freedom that he has offered us.

Lift your veil my friends. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is Freedom!

2 Corinthians 3

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our[a] hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.[b]

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.

12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one[c] turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord[d] is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,[e] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.[f] For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Sick of it All

 

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Sometimes you just have to get sick of it all. Sometimes you have to look at your situation and say this is enough. I will not live in this anymore, I surrender!

There is nothing the enemy loves more than to have you stay in the nasty. Sick, tired, oppressed, anxiety, depressed, angry, empty, fearful and just plain not living. He wants to immobilize you with the lies that this is it and how it is.  I was in that place and then one day I said God, I am sick of all this, I surrender, I can’t do this anymore. As I worshipped him and laid it all down I felt a new purpose rise within my soul.

I began to surrender in a new way. I had been fasting, praying, worshipping, reading the word and pressing into God like I have not in YEARS.
The praises on my lips began when at first I didn’t feel like praising at all. I would praise and praise until those praises shook my very being and began a change in me.

He meets me right where I am EVERY TIME. If I get to the point of being sick of it all and remove it all from my sight and set my sight on HIM. I had to take my eyes off of what I was seeing in my flesh. I had to stop looking at it, stop living in it. It was not my life it was my situation and my God is a God who has complete power over every situation. 

Recently these days, I have felt an incredible urge to contend for others and their needs. I was in bed one night and woke up and could not sleep. So I began to pray and with the spirit of God on me, I lifted many people before God for different reasons. When I came to those needing healing, a new level of the presence of God hit me. I could not move, I was in awe and I saw myself on the floor, face to the ground and Jesus over me, saying I have healed you, and the presence hit me so strongly that I could not control the prayers they broke out from my heart to my lips. 

Since this experience, I have felt a new level of healing, and a ridiculous closeness to the father, I am absolutely buzzing with the presence of the Lord. Oh, how I pray this is just an incredible beginning because I was absolutely sick of it all and now…oh wow… I am in absolute AWE of Him in an all-new way!

This has become my prayer: “God, we are sick of it all. Sick of the lies, that pull us from the living. Invade the places that we have held back from you. It is time for the rejoicing. No matter what we are seeing in the flesh. You fight with us in the spirit. You go before us and we praise you for it. “

When we are sick of looking at the mess and ready to put our eyes on him continually, we will see new and amazing things. I will not be shaken, I will not forget what He has done.

Psalm 16:8- I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

I will PRAISE Him and Raise My Hallelujah! No matter what is going on around me. For when I am fixed on Him, everything else pales in comparison.

 

Give a listen and just let your ‘stuff’ go~ Raise a Hallelujah~

 

Joy Despite the Pain is Not Denial but a Necessity!​

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Joy despite the pain is not denial but a necessity. These are the words the Lord spoke to me days after the darkest, lowest point in my life.
Let me back up just a bit, before that revealing moment.
In 2010 I had been through the darkest valley I had ever known. I was a church-going, woman of God, that loved my family, loved my husband, loved my kids and my friends and all of a sudden, it wasn’t enough. I won’t go into the details that lead to this valley at this time. Just that I was in one.
In this valley of death, I was ready to end my life. I began to cut people away from me. I didn’t see it at first. In the beginning, it was because someone wronged me, and chop, they were out of my life. Then it was someone wasn’t around for me the way I needed them, and chop, they were out of my life.  Then it became a chopping block for no other reason than I was done with people. I wanted to hide away. I wanted to end all my physical pain that was blinding and no end in sight. I felt worthless, I felt hindering to others, unwanted (because I didn’t want myself) and unloved (because I could not love myself). I only saw my lack and hated myself for it. I truly hated me and the mess I was in.

The baffling thing is, on the outside, I seemed to have it all together. I was strong, I was faithful, I was serving, I was blessed… BUT
Suicide and major depression are not spoken of in the church very often or perhaps even not at all. Women are going to church Sunday mornings with a smile on their face, all the while dying inside. They feel guilty for dying inside, they feel weak and unworthy for feeling this weight they can’t explain.
Some will keep that mask on their face until, like me at that moment, they are ready to end it all.

I was sobbing in the bathtub, I had been told some very negative things by doctors, ” you have to live this way, the pain will not kill you, you don’t want to get better if you won’t try XYZ,”  lets forget I had tried A-W and was exhausted and broke. I was blinded by the opiates they had put me on for the pain and I was just done. I had it planned. Submerge in the tub inhale deeply and end it. My husband knowing something was off, sat on the other side of the bathroom door, banging on it begging for me to let him in.
I stopped crying answered in a very calm voice, ” I am fine, I just need some time.” He stood on the other side, quiet.

At this moment, I was not thinking of my worth, I was not thinking that my family needed me, my family loved me, all I could think was to end the pain both physically and emotionally. I dreamed of the feeling of nothing.

With a final heart plea, I said, “God you promised me joy, where is it.”

It was THE most defining moment in my life. He answered my spirit and said, ” you have joy, you just need to find it.”

My despair cleared and for the first time in 10 months, I had hope stirring in me. I had no idea the journey I would embark on, but that moment with my savior, truly saved my life.

In this process, Writing for Joy was created. I still hurt, I still was broken, I still had limits to my abilities, but as I sought God on what was robbing my joy, each day a bit more joy filled the holes of empty in my heart. One day while still walking in physical pain, but feeling joy again in my heart, I heard God speak clearly to me, ” Joy despite the pain, is not denial but a necessity.” This became my new mantra in life. I was still waiting for physical healing but in the meantime, I was learning my circumstances did not have to dictate my joy.

You see I needed this joy to survive. It did not matter that I was walking and have been walking for years in pain, the Joy is still mine. Through this process, God taught me how to regain it and obtain it.

I still have days the darkness tries to come in. But He gently reminds me, that Joy is my gift, waiting fresh each morning.

Now there is action that I take, to obtain and maintain my joy.

I have a feeling, that this blog and all these years of learning after the brokenness will be my beauty from ashes moment.

I will begin to write my new book: Joy Despite the Pain is not Denial but a Necessity

My heart is to speak into the heart of others, that have been hiding behind the mask, walking in the ‘normal’ every day while dying inside little by little. Not because they want to hide, but because perhaps they don’t even realize they are. Or maybe, just maybe, they don’t realize that they are not the only ones.

This scripture above in my heading is so relevant to me, as in the darkest season I had been bedridden in pain, He says to me RISE UP and I will speak to you and He has been so faithful both physically and spiritually. So I RISE UP and no longer walk in shame of where I was, but in JOY that I can use my story, to touch the lives of others that may be blinded in the pain at the moment.

Remember!! Joy despite the pain is not denial but a necessity.

 

Hope

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Romans 15:13- 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.

How do I hope when I am surrounded on all sides? When the darkness comes in and clouds my mind. I am tempted to succumb to my weakness and lack rather than rising in His strength. How do I overcome? It is not by might, but by His spirit. It is connecting to Him in Spirit by praise and worship. It is in surrender, for in losing my old self, He clothes me with new life. And so…

When HOPE and EXPECTATION rise in my spirit fear, anger, hurt, insecurity and all forms of darkness are shaken out of my sites. Joy and peace become my covering.
Trusting in the Lord is the key to my hope.

I will sing of His wondrous love that saved me from my self.
I will rejoice in His overwhelming grace that covers all my shortcomings.
I praise Him in the morning, His mercies are new each day.
I take my eyes off of my moment and look to my helper, my comfort, my strength.
My moment will pass, but He is ever constant, faithful with every breath I take.
A keeper of promises.
A healer of disease.
Mighty fortress in times of trouble.
Provider for my needs.
The Hope will rise and overflow from my soul.
For the God of all Hope has said it will be so.

With Everything~ Worship song for my day

 

 

Fear you have been identified

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Fear this year had gripped me and I had no idea how, why or when. I just knew that my physical body was in panic mode and this was brand new for me. Sensory overload has been paralyzing at times, to where I literally have to leave and lie down right then and there. Another form of this fear started almost a year ago. Overwhelming constant dizziness had me afraid to go anywhere or doing anything on my own.

I no longer drive (almost 10 months now with just a couple tries in that time) even on my good days because the bad ones terrified me so much and the movement will seem okay for a little while, I will be driving along and all of a sudden I can’t see straight. So much time has gone by and I have not even realized it.

Yesterday a new friend called me out on my walking in fear, by sharing her testimony and freedom. I was supposed to get together with her and had tummy issues that morning and canceled.  She called me and had an encouraging word and then shared about fear. As soon as she said the word “fear”,  a light bulb clicked in my brain, I truly had no idea that I was battling in such a capacity. Fear you have been identified!

Here I had written on fear and transformation and God had begun a work in me just a few days before, but I had no idea how deep that fear had a hold until I saw my situation through another’s eyes.

She was absolutely right, I had been fearing getting together with someone new, but did not know it in my head.
The flashes came to my mind on what I was fearing as soon as she mentioned the word, it is hard for me, exposing my heart to risk having it broken again. Rejection and abandonment had left me as a shut-in and hiding. I will get over it and the enemy is right there to remind me what was stolen from me and point that accusing finger that I am nothing. I will grasp my worth and value and one disapproving look or gossip can send me spiraling right back to my idea of worthlessness. Fear you have been identified! I will not go back.

It is easy to live in a state of hidden truths. I was not addressing fear, because it had not been revealed to me yet. There is great power addressing your battles by name and this is why the enemy tries to keep things hidden. As I have been on this journey to the fullness of joy and health, there have been many things the Lord has had to deal with in my heart.

There are hidden things coming to light every single day, and sometimes it takes a loving person to identify what you don’t see or want to look at. This person came to me in encouragement and love. This was not a place of judgment but a heart that wanted freedom for me.

As soon as an issue is identified to us, we have a choice, we either choose to tackle it for complete freedom, or stuff it away and don’t deal with it. You can’t have victory by rolling over and saying “I will deal with you another day.” Because another day comes and your darkness grows that much stronger. It has become your comfort and false safety.

My friend said it well, “one of the ways to battle fear is to do that which you are afraid of anyways. Walk it out in fear and all.”When I step out into the uncomfortable, I think on it for days, that I looked foolish, or all the ways others may mock me for being who I am. I fear what will I say, how will the conversation start. Now those that had known me in years past would wonder what in the world happened because this is NOT who I was. I have become someone mousey and hidden. I have for whatever reason, all of a sudden cared about what others think of me, far too much.

This shut-in mentality started slow. It was to get well with my illnesses at first and most recently it seems like anytime I am asked to come out of my little hole in my house, that I would start shutting down. I thought it was laziness or depression (this all started around the loss of my dad) and maybe that is a factor, but my friend was so right on when she identified that I was battling fear.

Asking the Lord, why His truths are not sticking, I feel the answer is because the seeds of healing have not been cast on good soil. A truth that is in my head but has not been established in my heart. Rather than my everyday reality that I am valuable, have a call, have worth and what I have to say has importance, I only have snippets of a moment. Even now typing the words that what I have to say has importance, I wanted to delete that sentence. I don’t truly believe it yet. So I ask the Lord today, help my unbelief. Help me see myself with the same eyes that I see others. Help me see myself as you see me. Fear you have been identified and I will not return to you!

It is time for me to walk in my value and worth every single day, all day, not just when the spirit of God hits in crazy good ways.

I am choosing to speak to that fear by name. I call it out for what it is!
In Jesus name, Fear you must go, you are a liar, you are false, you don’t hold my God’s truths!
I will no longer walk in panic mode but confident mode. He has given me every tool I need to do His work and He has promised me His protection and peace.  I am under the shadow of His wings and I can find comfort there.

One thing I have learned in all of this is how to rest in the Spirit of the Lord. At any moment I know my comforter is there. So it is up to me to go to the source rather than run in my blindness. It is up to me to take the gifts He gives rather than believe the lies of the accuser.

God is so good to care so much that He doesn’t leave me behind in my mess, but creates beauty out of it, so that I may walk in my testimony.

Isaiah 41:10- fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

Transformation: Fear is a Liar

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This picture came to me as I was worshiping in my living room before a special meeting at church. I had not planned on doing any painting that night, but the song in my head would not leave, “Fear is a liar”. So without knowing what I was painting, I sat and quickly painted my beginning picture. It was the eye of evil staring back at me. My first thought was, I am not taking this to church!
Then the instruction, “How will you look beyond the ugly and make something beautiful?” I knew at that moment this picture was about transformation.  I did not know it was to be mine!

I have rarely done a painting in public, and never with this process, fear tried to grip me. While I prayed and prepared,  the excitement of what God would do, overtook any timidity. I kept singing that song Fear is a Liar, knowing God would be my peace.

As I was packing my supplies the Lord said, ” tonight you will get messy, no brushes.”
It sounded fun and exciting to me but I have absolutely no coordination and fear again tried to grip me. I had to keep singing Fear is a Liar.

I then felt led to put red paint in a spray bottle ( NO idea why). I have never sprayed my paint before and had only bought the bottle for water just a few days before. People will think I am crazy and I don’t even know what to do with it. Fear tried to grip me and I had to sing again, Fear is a Liar.

In this process I was seeing how fast my site can shift. How fast a lie can creep in.

I flipped the painting over and I could see in the eye, a worshiper. I knew my result would be a worshiper but no idea how the transformation was to take place.
I packed my paints, prepared to take everything with me and continued to pray.

At some point in the service, I truly can’t remember where, the visiting pastor from Bethel had said,  “Tonight we are going to get messy. I like messy church!”I truly laughed out loud! She was meaning we are not following our own agenda and it will not look like church always looks, but God had given me an action, to step out of my comfort and my known to let HIM do a work and instructed me to get messy! He confirmed through her exact words what I had heard. Don’t be afraid to get messy.

In worship, The song Fear is a Liar began and a woman with an amazing ministry of sign language was next to me signing the song. I didn’t dare look at her because when she signs I always want to cry, it is so beautiful. So I looked at the painting, spray bottle in a hand and the words began. ” When he told you’re not good enough,” (spray the blood of Jesus over it, this is why red, this is why bottle, the paint dripped over the evil eye. The blood of Jesus covering every lie). When I realized why the spray bottle, I shook with joy. My tears blurred the painting for a moment. I pressed in, praying and obeying.
“When he told you your not right” (Spray), “when he told you’re not strong enough, to put up a good fight” (spray.)
This continued through all the lies, then it was time to get messy. Without really knowing what I was to do, that picture went through a transformation journey.
A worshiper facing the eye, arms raised formed, then swirl of paint and the flames from a fire, more smudge of messy paint, a dove representing peace, the blues were added becoming a river of God washing over her. Then she was gone and an angel appearing to fight. Lastly, she was a new worshiper, covered with the Glory of God, facing forward in the painting, more confident, ready and all of Gods amazing triumph of colors surrounding her, surrounding her in His love, He had covered it all and she was ready to move forward. The enemies lies no longer in her sights.

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I truly wish I had recorded the process. I had no idea the journey the Lord would take me on. The funny thing is, many times, I wanted a paint brush. I wanted to perfect the work. It was not until the next day the Lord allowed me to paint the worshiper, after all, He had revealed and I used a brush. Not until I was ready to submit fully and see the full work He had for me.
It was messy and did not look the way I wanted it to. Just now as I thought about that, the Lord shows me, you wanted to rush the process. If you would have had a brush, you would have gone straight to the worshiper, you would not have seen my blood covering, you would not have seen the dove, the angel, the many glorious colors. You would have robbed yourself of the full work of your transformation. This process was so healing for me. I recognized each lie the blood of Jesus had to cover. I saw the peace covering my head. I saw the angel fighting for my victory.

I feel so humbled as I look at the work the Lord has done in me. How in my own power I would have quickly ‘fixed’ it to look the way I wanted it to look. I would have bypassed all the hard stuff. I may have had a decent outcome but I would have missed the strength, the skills, the courage that had come out of it, there is beauty in the process!

I tell you I truly wanted a brush when the Spirit of God was on me so strong my hands were shaking and I was trying to paint with them. My fingers felt clumsy, the paint all mixed and not perfect. God says…this is exactly what I want. You messy and all, let me do the transformation and remember Fear is a liar!

Here is the song to give a listen: Fear is a Liar

Fruit of the Spirit part 2:

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Part 2: The fruit is Rotting

The journey to writing about Spiritual Fruit, actually started because I knew I had produced fruit in my life at one point, but in the most recent season, I was not seeing the evidence. It was almost as if my Fruit of the Spirit was rotting away. 

Galatians 5: 22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.

Reasons your Spiritual Fruit may be rotting.

  1. You are leaving your harvest behind in your walk. You may have the Fruit of the Spirit at the moment, but when life gets hard or the world is tempting you have let it go and become buried in the mess.
  2. You have not shared the harvest with others by connecting with a community. You must USE your fruits of the Spirit. We cannot hold on to our fruits of the Spirit for our own gain. Our gifts are to bless and impact the Kingdom. It is then that we will see more fruit production because God’s math multiplies a good thing!
  3. Distraction is a killer of the fruit of the Spirit. When we are consumed with the weight of this world or the busy craziness of life, we are not focused on our God. He is the producer of our fruit. If we are disconnected from Him our fruit will rot.

 

Let’s look at the fruit of the Spirit and see how it may look when rotting. Now mind you, I am not talking about a once in a while I messed up, but if I am constantly walking in the ‘mess’ I am going to have rotting fruit.

*LOVE: Love your neighbor as yourself, love your family, love your church, love the stranger and love your enemy well!

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I already failed at this one today, as I was not very patient or kind with my own husband.  I was tired and moody and failed. I was not showing the fruit of the Spirit within me. Now he was gracious and the Lord gives us grace, but how much more love will the Lord bless in my heart when I can actively obey his call to LOVE and love well?

*JOY: A feeling of great happiness. A source or cause of delight.

Psalm 47:1- 
Clap your hands all you nations; Shout to God with cries of Joy.

When I was grumbling and complaining to my husband about what I perceived as an offense, I was not shouting for Joy. I was not walking in joy. How many of us grumble and complain from the moment we see someone until we depart?
If we are grumbling and complaining we are not showing the fruit of the spirit, Joy.  If we are spending more being critical than we are walking in Joy, we are going to be sitting on the rotten fruit of the Spirit.

* PEACE: It is impossible to walk in stress and anxiety at the same time as peace.  I may begin my morning in peace, and by the afternoon of facing the daily stress, I often have chosen to let peace fall to the ground and rot. I must WALK in peace.

Isaiah 26: 12- 
LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us.

God has established His peace for me, I do not need to pick the garbage back up. He has done it and I have to share it.

 

*FOREBEARANCEHolding back or self-restraint. Specifically, a refraining from the enforcement of a punishment; holding back judgment.

Matthew 5:38-42
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.  Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Oh how I have wanted to retaliate, throw the stones back that was smacking me in the face. Even though I didn’t, my heart was so ugly with the thought of revenge. My Forbearance was undeveloped for sure. I don’t even think that one had a chance to rot. But now that I am aware of what it is and how to walk in it, Lord will give me the strength to sow that seed with HIS grace.

*KINDNESS- Friendly, thoughtful and considerate. 

Luke 6:35- But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

I think kindness is taking love into action by actually connecting. For myself, in the past, I could compare my kindness vs. others towards me and get disgruntled. But I must be kind to the ungrateful enemy as well as those that will sow back. I can’t expect anything in return, just sowing the kindness for the sake of being kind. Because the Lord has given me much, I must share much.

*GOODNESS- The quality of my character and conduct. For example; integrity, honesty, and uprightness.

Ephesians 4:29- Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

It is so easy to tear down what we see as flaws, but the Lord directs us to build up. Edify others with our speech and conduct. He has called us to be faithful and honest. In my name of ‘sickness’, I have not walked in goodness but in despair and my character showed it. I affected the atmosphere around me and truly was giving off an offensive rotten fruit.

* FAITHFULNESS- Faithful, constant, loyal imply qualities of stability, dependability, and devotion.

Matthew 5:7- When you make a promise, say only “Yes” or “No.” Anything else comes from the devil.

I am learning to take on less so that I can be faithful in my YES. There is nothing more frustrating to others in my life when I can not follow through. This area of study has me more thoughtful on what I am able to do.  

*GENTLENESS-  Walking in the tenderness of the Father. Choosing to use a soft word.

Proverbs 15:1- A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

So many times with my family I have been harsh and I have watched the anger stir up. I have also experienced the anger stirred up in myself from the harshness in others. At the same time, I have seen the hand of God move when I answer with a gentle and tender heart. Lord I am praying that my action of tenderness is my first and my fruit won’t fall from you and rot.

*SELF-CONTROL-   Controlling your emotions and desires or the expression of them in difficult situations. 

2 Timothy 1:7- For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid; but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

God has given me the tools I need to be self-controlled. When I blow up in my emotion of the moment, I have not glorified His work in me. I have not turned to the creator with my emotion. I have let my spirtitual fruit is rotting.

I am still a work in progress, and I know the Lord gives me grace in my seasons of mistakes, but I have made up my mind to not WALK in this state, but rather in HIS POWER.


Fruit of the Spirit

apple treeGalatians 5: 22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.

The word says we will know them by their fruit. I have had some amazing deposits in my life from fruit-bearing individuals. Life changing deposits that I am so very grateful for. Their lives are overflowing with the fruit of the Spirit.

 I have been asking lately, Lord what causes the others to not bear fruit?
( I was bearing fruit but it was rotting, that is in part 2)

I can see no outward appearance of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives.
Outwardly there is hate instead of love, anger instead of joy, anxiety instead of peace, impatience instead of kindness, rudeness instead of goodness, judgment instead of gentleness and goodness, you get my point. But I was feeling as if I was judging them by looking for their fruit and God said you will KNOW them by their fruit of the Spirit.

So I said, okay Lord, what causes a person to not bear fruit when they are your child?
The Lord impressed on my heart to look at the fruit-bearing trees and address, what causes a tree not to bear fruit?

barren apple tree

Part One:

HELP THERE IS NO FRUIT!!!

  1. Immaturity– A fruit tree that is young will not bear fruit. There is a time of growth first.  For a new Christian, there is a learning and a growing season.
    The Lord will do the work in their lives, preparing them for fruit growth and that will require time with Him. Get to know the Holy Spirit and you will bear His fruit.
    1 Corinthians 3:1-2 

    Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly-mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.

     

  2. Pollination– A fruit tree requires pollination. Some are self-pollinating and that would be us getting into the word for ourselves and spending time with the spirit our self (very important)
    But other trees are cross-pollinating, and they require others near them to pollinate, they require a community to help them grow. A community that walks in the fruit of the Spirit, pouring out and sharing what the Lord has done in them. I think we need to do both, self-pollination and cross-pollination are equally important.
    Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

  3. Zones– This is a big one for me personally. A fruit tree was created to flourish in certain zones (atmosphere). If a fruit tree is planted in the wrong zone, it may bear fruit but it will not flourish as it was intended to. So often I would stay where I was at because it was the easy thing to do. But if an environment is hindering my fruit production in my life, I have to look at the very real possibility that it is time for changing my zone.
    Also if an intense shift in your life has come (drought or freeze) it may be harder to bear fruit. This is a time to press into the Lord and let Him do the repair. This may be a season of great care for your Spirit but it may be a season of less visible fruit production. It is preparing you for more fruit in another season of your life.
    The Lord has a plan for our lives. It is so important to press in and ask, where will I best flourish Lord?
    Jeremiah 29: 11- For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you hope and a future.

  4. Pruning- A fruit tree will not be as productive without pruning by the hand of the gardener. Buds often form on limbs that have air circulation and light infiltration. By cutting off the old you are making room for air and light. By cutting off the things in your life that are holding you back from the Lord, you are available for the Holy Spirit to circulate and infiltrate your life.  This process can be very uncomfortable, as we often have grown attached to the things that need to be pruned from our lives, but it is absolutely necessary for fruit production.
    John 15:2- Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

  5.  Spacing- Fruit trees that are too close to one another, compete for light and nutrients. While the community is so very important to fruit-bearing for the Christian, relying upon and getting closer to one another than the father, can leave us lacking the depth of nutrients and light that we are in great need of.
    I can rely on my community, grow with my community and fellowship with the community, but if that community becomes my first or everything, then the Holy Spirit is not allowed the room He needs to maximize my growth. As well, this leaves us extremely vulnerable when the community lets us down, as we were leaning on the wrong source. We must have space and ABIDE in Him.
    John 15:5- “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.

  6. Soil Conditions- A fruitful tree needs fertile soil. This is the nutrients for growth. A Christians nutrients (food) is the word of God. You will not be properly fed without getting into Gods word for yourself. Not the word from others and how it has impacted them, but being impacted yourself. Lack of getting into the word leads to spiritual sickness.
    Matthew 4:4- But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

  7. Roots- In trees, nutrient reserves build up in the roots from the previous year. This is important for the continual growth of the next year. Hold fast to the word truths, Holy Spirit connection, and community that you have built on. Don’t let it fall to the wayside and be forgotten. You need those reserves to build upon.
    Psalm 119:11- I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 

The most important thing I have gathered in all of this. Stay so so close to the Lord, and He will lead you in His spirit and you will bear much fruit. ABIDE in Him.
Here is a worship song that spoke to my heart. Great is the Lord in Hebrew.

This has been part one of Fruit of the Spirit. I have been greatly blessed by the depth the Lord has taken me on in this post.
I will be posting part two (Why is my fruit Rotting) after I meditate on what He has shown me today.

I thank Stark Brother’s Nursery for their blog on Fruit tree blooming and bearing problems, for insight on the process of growth of fruit-bearing trees.

 

rotting apples

Part Two:

HELP THE FRUIT IS ROTTING!!!

 

 

Intentional Connection

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John 14:26-

The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you. 

Let me start off with this thought… you can not theory your way into changing my heart of what I have experienced personally. You may not believe in the Holy Spirit in such a way, that is okay, but I have EXPERIENCED the Holy Spirit this way, and I will not be convinced otherwise.

The greatest gift is to be able to have an intentional connection with the Holy Spirit.

Where would my relationship be with my husband if I was walking through life, knowing he was there and hearing his voice from a closed door in another room but not have an intentional connection with him? I would be one with him, but not aware of him.
I can hear him trying to converse with me, but no clarity of what is being said. What kind of relationship would that be?

This is how we can walk through life with the Holy Spirit. When we are saved and baptized the Holy Spirit comes and dwells within us. He is our friend, our comforter and hopefully leads us in our walk as we let him. But there is a difference between the Holy Spirit being there and having an intentional connection with Him. He is our face to face encounter with the Father. Our opportunity to hear the Father’s heart towards us.

Just like my relationship with my husband (or anyone for that matter) the Holy Spirit needs and deserves intentional connection. He delights to hear from us. He delights to spend time with us. He delights to speak into our hearts.

So I am intentional, shutting off the noise around me and asking the Holy Spirit, what do you want to share with me today?  He has blown my mind with His goodness and love for me. He reminds me that I am loved and not forgotten. He reminds me of my purpose and call. He is every bit as intentional with me, as I am with Him.

So very thankful for the intentional connection with the Holy Spirit. To be able to say, Holy Spirit, I welcome You.