January 25, 2016
Good Morning Ladies!
We are in Week 9, Session 2 of Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit. If you have been following along our journey, only a few words can describe this past week...GOD IS FAITHFUL. Amazing Grace.
Before we begin with Faithfulness, I want to take some time to revisit last week, Kindness and Goodness. (Thanks in advance for bearing with me, but this recap will connect to the email today).
Take a look at the following statements:
1. God is good. (Matthew 7:17 "Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.")
2. We are God's workmanship and are here to "do good". (Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.")
3. Never minimize the fact that God gives us something to do AND it is something of value (remember we are on assignment; what's your TO DO list?)
4. Don't become weary of doing good. Keep up the good fight. (Galatians 6:7-10 .... (v. 9-10) "9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.")
5. Spend yourself on others. (Isaiah 58: 6-11- ... (v. 10) "and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday".)
Because God is good and we are His handiwork, if we focus on spending ourselves on others, doing good and fighting the good fight we are pleasing God, "living beyond ourselves", staying lock step with Spirit (Galatians 5:25). We are exercising...Faith.
"The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
The Greek word for faithfulness is "pistis" (means "firm, persuasion, coviction, belief in truth, veracity, reality or faithfulness). Faithfulness is believing in that God is soverign. He is the head, our Commander-In-Chief. As a believer we are part of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13) and as a member of the body, our charge is to take or direction from our Commander...God.
As I prayed during this past week's study, I had an opportunity to witness God's ever-present faithfulness. (I'll explain later in a few paragraphs.)
We know God is always faithful (Numbers 23:19 "God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?")
God is able to do just what he said he would. He is abundantly faithful to us, but do you ever find yourself in the middle of the Shakespeare passage...To Believe or Not To Believe?
This picking one petal off a flower or roller coster of "belief today, question tomorrow" can give us all one big headache. Something the enemy performs cartwheels over, hoping that we stay in this state of mind.
Princesses, remember who your Father is; remember that God is faithful.
In order to have these rememberance we must answer the following question:
Do you base your faith on what God does or who God is?
Faith Based On What God Does?
When we base our faith on what God does, we find ourselves on our faithless rollercoaster and petal picking. Be it fear or doubt (limiting God), if we are able to stop and take a 30,000 view of our behavior, we will find that we are unfocused and ultimately not on assignment. Our lack of direction plays right into the enemy's strategy of destroying our faith.
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV)
Faith Based On Who God Is?
God calls us to seek His heart and not His works! Why? God is always at work. Because His ways and thoughts are higher than our ways and thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9) our lives are lent to change.
8“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
The one constant is God. While we may not understand, what we can rely and rest in is that God is good, His heart is loving, good and faithful. He will work all things for our good.
As it is found in Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Faithfulness is in fact an act of faith.
If we are going to obey the Lord, then we will need our faith (Ephesians 6: 16. "...above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.).
We need to believe God is who He says He is; that He is good. We do these things because we believe and trust the Lord. All the superficial distinctions that keep us separating faith from works disappears. Faith based on who God is frees Him completely to show us what He can do!
So, back to my prayer last week. God once again showed His faithfulness and revealed that "in all things He (God) works for the good of those who love him..." At the time, I knew God's faithfulness, but I wanted so much to help someone else see this truth as well. I didn't want them to fall into the petal picking trap as we all may have found ourself in at one time or another.
I prayed that God would give me the words to say to convery His love, goodness and faithfulness. I payed that He would speak through me to show His glory. Well God, in His perfect and loving way did indeed give me the words to say. Through the Holy Spirity he allowed me to witness and share scripture. God then took this to another level and confirmed this conversation in various ways last week. I am so thankful that God allowed me to partake in this experience. It was amazing to see the hand of God at work. You see, what I re-learned last week was that the miracles and stories of old (in the Bible) are not just reserved for the days of the past, but God is on the move.
Miracles are at work everyday.
IF we stay focused and on assignment, God can and will use us for his purpose to carry out our mission of pointing the light to Him- bringing His glory in our generation. (See Luke 17:5-6, "And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.")
What your assignment? What's on your to-do list?
Let's be honest, the assignment is not a promised slam dunk, there will be challenges (we need the full armour of God daily - Ephesians 6:10-18), but Our God able; Our God is Faithful; Our God's mercies are renewed each day; Our God will never leave us or forsake us.
So dear friends and mighty warriors, to walk in your destiny and fulfill your assignment...
Focus on Who God Is. (Our Commander-In- Chief);Listen. (God said it, He can do it and if He chooses not to, He has greater glory in mind);Believe and Trust. (As Christians, through the Holy Spirit we possess the ability to believe God);Keep Fighting. (Remember your armour-- Armour of God- Shield of Faith); andGO! (There's work to do!)
Know that through the Holy Spirit you can:
• do things you couldn't;
• feel things you didn't; and
• know things you wouldn't.
For your praise and worship:
Faithful - (V. Mitchell)
Our God- (C. Tomlin)
Your Steps Are Ordered- (F. Hammond)
• Remember to keep practicing our memory verse in sign language. Galatians 5:22-23- Fruit of the Spirit (verse with sign language) (est 6:22)
• Week 8 Homework- we will be discussing Faithfulness.
• Our next meeting will be Tuesday, January 25, 2016- Stark County Library, Innovation Center (Main Campus).
• Spread the word and invite someone to Session 2 as we continue our conversation and study about life in the Holy Spirit in Fruit of the Spirit- Living Beyond Yourself.
Remember, each day is an opportunity for us to...
Lead, Serve, GO!
Each day we have an opportunity to be the light and salt God has called us to be to others. Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)