Fruit

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 5:22-23

If I could look inside your heart, would I find?

Would there be love?

Would there be joy?

Would I find peace there?

Would patience and kindness be evident?

Would I see goodness?

Would there be faithfulness?

Would I find gentleness?

Would self-control be there?

These are the fruits—the things that grow out of—the Spirit within us.

If I looked into my own heart, what would I see?

 

 

 

fruit

Let Your Hope Keep You

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How should I love?

What should I hate?

What should I hold on to?

How should I love someone?

How should I show respect?

How should I work?

How should I serve the Lord?

What can keep me joyful?

How should I respond during times of trouble?

When should I pray?

Should I share my belongings?

Should I open my home to people I don’t know?

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Love must be completely sincere.

Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good.

Love one another warmly as Christians,

and be eager to show respect for one another.

Work hard and do not be lazy.

Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion. 

Let your hope keep you joyful,

be patient in your troubles,

and pray at all times.

Share your belongings with your needy fellow Christians,

and open your homes to strangers.

–Romans 12:9-13

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hope keep final

Always Be Joyful

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As I was walking to my car this morning to travel to work, I suddenly noticed something unusual across the street in my neighbor’s yard.

I probably thought something like, “What are those things?”

Within a second or two, I realized that I was looking at five wild turkeys, enjoying the moist grass before the sun was completely up.

Scrambling to get my camera out, I was able to photograph a couple of the turkeys, as the other three had mosied on behind my neighbor’s house.

What makes me happy?

What makes me joyful?

Many, many things.

Among them is the rare sighting of a wild animal or bird.

I could go to a zoo and enjoy seeing a wide variety of animals, but there is just something very special to me about seeing them in their natural habitat.

I know God wants me to be joyful in living my life for Him.

This morning was just one more of those joyful times…..

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Always be joyful.
—-1 Thessalonians 5:16

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joyful

And With My Song

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The melodic sound of the cardinal rang out all through the yard.

He had found his way to the very top of one of the tallest trees.

There, for all to hear, he sang….

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The Lord is my strength and my shield;

my heart trusts in Him,

and He helps me.

My heart leaps for joy,

and with my song

I praise Him.

—Psalm 28:7

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my song

Rejoice and Be Glad

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Driving along in the shopping area of a nearby city, my husband noticed a fountain that had been placed in the parking lot.

As we drove past the plumes of pulsing water, he noticed that a duck had found the fountain, as well.

Quickly, I grabbed my camera and got out of the car while my husband found a place to park.

The duck was quite obliging in my quest to photograph him as he was enjoying his moments of refreshment.

His orange feet and toes were being constantly washed with the motion of the water as though he were standing in a Jacuzzi tub.

He was magnificently colored with a bright blue stripe on his side.

God created ducks to joyously live and play in the water.

On a hot day, surrounded by concrete and parked cars, this bird found an unexpected respite.

In the middle of an inhospitable environment, a silent invitation to play, drink, and cool off was answered by a

mottled duck, happy to accept.

Aren’t there times when God provides such things for us?

On a tired afternoon, when weariness weighs heavy, suddenly—–there it is.

An encouraging note from a friend, a surprise birthday party or a roadside park, complete with a bench in the shade.

God knows what we need and He knows what brings us joy.

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

—Psalm 118:24

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rejoice

Love

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Do you remember the sound of your mother’s voice when you were a child as she called you to come into the house?

What did it sound like when your father called out, motioning you to get into the car to go for a drive?

If you close your eyes and become still for a moment, can you recall their faces when they presented you with a gift?

Was there a day when one of them told you to step quietly to a tree because a nest of baby birds had started to chirp high in the branches?

Can you reassemble the memory of your parents sitting proudly in the audience at one of your ballgames, recitals, plays or graduations?

What did their faces show?

Loving parents live with an awareness of where their children are.

When it is “time to come in” to the house, they instruct them to do so, providing guidance, shelter and direction.

Parents keep children by their sides most of the time, grasping hold of moments to share new things with them.

As a parent gives a gift to their child, there is joy in seeing the delight in their son or daughter’s eyes.

When a parent sees the opportunity to introduce their child to something of wonder, there is a certain happiness that comes from seeing a look of awestruck fascination forming on their little one’s face.

As a loving mom or dad gazes out to the ball field, theater stage or concert hall, their hearts fill with gladness at the knowledge of their children’s dedication to giving their best.

Our Heavenly Father knows where His children are every second.

When it is best to “come in” He calls to us to rest in His shelter.

Our Creator grasps hold of moments in our lives to share new things with us.

When our Heavenly Father chooses a gift for us, surely there must be joy as He sees the delight in our eyes upon receiving it.

As He shows us more and more of His great wonders, don’t you suppose that He is pleased with our fascination?

When He has given us opportunities to give our best in following His leading, don’t you suppose that our Heavenly Father is glad as He sees our efforts?

When our Heavenly Father knows that we love Him, don’t you think it makes Him smile?

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love

Shout for Joy

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The sun was going down as I walked with my husband in the quiet little town.

We had been looking at birds overhead and at birds in the water.

The colors in the sky were in constant visual motion, changing hue with each passing moment.

God was creating the once-in-a-lifetime scene, and we were witnesses to see its beauty.

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They who dwell

in the ends

of the earth

stand in awe

of Your signs;

You make the dawn

and the sunset

shout for joy.

—Psalm 65:8

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shout

Of Great Joy

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The stars were bright tonight, without the  moon to compete with, as yet.

It was cold, too, so a coat was in order.

The Bible study group that I belong to was having a dinner party at the home of one of the members.

The atmosphere was warm with love inside.

Friends greeted each other with smiles and laughter.

There were candles on some of the tables inside metal jars.

Open lettering exposed the light and flame.

“Joy” was glowing through one of them.

I’m sure that every single person at the dinner had something of concern going on in their lives.

Jobs.

Finances.

Health.

Relationships.

Anything, really.

No one is exempt from difficulties in life.

Yet, there was something else present around the tables and chairs.

Joy.

Deep within the hearts of each guest lived a knowledge of God’s love for them.

A place of settled peace with Him.

A space occupied by knowing Jesus.

Whatever else happens in life, those things cannot be changed.

Joy emerges from such a knowledge.

In the book of Luke, these words bring us joy:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

—Luke 2: 8-14

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joy final

Songs of Joy

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It was only an hour or so before dark and I decided to sit in my backyard for awhile.

Checking an outdoor chair to make sure I would not be sitting on a spider’s new home, I settled in to enjoy the cool air and the pleasant surroundings.

Those included the orange hues of blooming Lantana bushes, an ever changing sky with feathery clouds and the sight of our son’s cat racing from place to place, chasing insects or maybe even a lizard or two.

My husband decided to come outside and play the guitar.

I watched an airplane go by, tiny in my view, lit up by the sun’s rays.

Ants scurried around a hill not far from my chair, busy at work before nightfall.

I am grateful for all of those blessings.

The peaceful outdoor setting of my own home.

My husband.

Guitars.

Blooming bushes.

Clouds.

Sunsets.

Cats.

Even ants and lizards.

The part of me that knows that God is there all the time blends with His blessings to bring about an inner joy in my heart.

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The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.

—Psalm 65:8

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songs of joy

For All Endurance

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They all seemed to come at once.

At the end of my street where it adjoins a highway, suddenly there was a large group of bicyclists approaching at a respectable speed.

Their bodies working hard to propel them on the pavement, they were dressed in various colored biking clothes, wearing helmets for protection.

They were most likely in an organized race; a very common thing in this area.

It takes endurance and strength to do something like that.

Mile after mile, legs pushing, hearts pounding, with eyes alert for cars and any obstacles on the road.

I never hear a dedicated bicyclist complain about hating it.

Just the opposite seems true.

It seems that bicyclists are eager to ride and just as eager to join with others for the experience.

As believers in Jesus, we should be eager to live each day for Him.

He is the one who gives us strength and power in every situation we find ourselves in.

Our endurance and inner joy comes from Him.

Day after day, we have purpose and meaning that is made known in all our encounters, as we speak and act as Jesus would have us to.

Like the bicyclists I saw this morning, we are on the journey together, traveling a roads that He sets before us according to His divine plan.

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

—Colossians 1:11-14

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strengthened