Friday, June 22, 2018

Fruit of the Spirit: Joy (Part 2)

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self control. Nothing in the Torah stands against such things. "- Galatians5:22-23 (CJB)
(read Galatians 5:16-26)

Joy, such a different feeling than happiness. It is not dependent on our circumstances. It comes straight from the Ultimate Source, Yah (G-d). Joy like love sets you apart from the world. No matter what is happening in your life at any given moment you can have joy because you know God is in control. He is there even in the midst of the storm.

When I think of joy, I think of Paul. He was in jail for his beliefs and scripture tells us that even then he was content. "I have learned to be content regardless of circumstances." (Phil. 4:11) No matter how hard it got, no matter how much he lost, he chose to be content in the good and the bad of life's journey. He chose joy. The joy of the Lord! "You make me know the path of life; in your presence is unbounded joy,in your right hand eternal delight. (Psalm 16:11)

I wrote this 4 years ago (2014) and at that time many things were changing in my life, health and other life circumstances. Right there and then I chose to began taking time to look on the bright-side of life. I looked for the joy in the present moment not matter my circumstance, no matter how dark things seemed, I chose to find things to thank Yah (G-d) for. In that time, I learned an important lesson. Thankfulness, being grateful for this moment results in joy. The changes that I had to make at that time forced me to stop and evaluate my life and where I was at in my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It was an awakening. Yah (G-d) really showed me how far I had gone down the wrong path - the path that He hadn't meant for me. Every day I learn more and more about what it is to surrender my life to Him and the plans He has for me. I have found more joy in these hard times than I did in the times when by society's standards I was more "stable." Glory to Yah (G-d)!

January 8, 2014, the day I wrote this, I found joy in a day off from work, sun bathing at our picnic table, the breeze blowing through my hair, music playing, the ability to write and read, the awesomeness of nature, our cats meowing, the mountains against the clear blue skies, baby evergreens growing. Grace inhaled and thanksgiving exhaled. The joy of life and all its turbulent winds and exciting moments. The ability to choose.  

July 22,2018, today I find joy in celebrating another year of my mom's life with her and my dad. Breakfast made by my dad. My mom reading her cards and seeing her flowers. My dad playing lots of birthday songs for her and other music loud enough for the neighborhood to hear, reminds me of my childhood days. In our fur babies (cats and dog) and in my parent's fur babies. The love between my husband and I. Our home. Amazing friends and family in the Lord. Every breathe and beat of my heart. Yah's Word and salvation through His Son Yeshua! 

Today and everyday, take a moment to really see who Yah is. How much He loves you and all of humanity. He has said,  For I know what plans I have in mind for you,’ says Adonai,‘plans for well-being, not for bad things; so that you can have hope and a future. When you call to me and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you seek me, you will find me, provided you seek for me wholeheartedly;" (Jeremiah 23:11) Doesn't that bring you great joy!? 

Love joy! When you pray for Yah to fill you with love as for His joy as well. Ask to see through His eyes. Take time to soak in His blessings and be grateful. 

Act Out Joy:

*Share your joy stories
*Share scriptures that bring joy to your heart
*Be grateful
*Choose to be joyful no matter your circumstances
*Most of all praise Yah and spend time in His Word.

We have the free will to choose how we react to the world around us and to what is happening to us. We can let it control us by allowing our emotions to be affected by how we are treated or we can take back that control and understand that everyone is fighting a battle and those of us who serve Yah have Him to fight for us. So let Him fight for you! Rest in Him and find your joy in Him. You can and should walk away from people who bring you down and treat you badly but don't let that make you bitter and angry. Forgive and let God take care of it and live your life in joy.

Let me hear the sound of joy and gladness, so that the bones you crushed can rejoice. Turn away your face from my sins,and blot out all my crimes. Create in me a clean heart, God; renew in me a resolute spirit.  Don’t thrust me away from your presence, don’t take your Ruach Kodesh (Holy Spirit) away from me. Restore my joy in your salvation, and let a willing spirit uphold me. (Psalm 51:8-12)

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Fruit of the Spirit: Love (Part 1)

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

When the Fruit of the Spirit is evident in our lives others will know who we follow without us having to say a word. Like me, you might look at this list and think, "I live out the Fruit of the Spirit most of the time with most of the people in my life." Our humaness gets in the way sometimes. Yet, we are called to live this out everyday, all day, with all people. *Ouch* Even on our bad days and especially on their bad days.

Love is first on the list. Love is who God is. He doesn't just have love - He is love!

In Mark 12:30-31 we are given these commandments:

"and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your understanding and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other mitzvah greater than these.” ~CJB

Scripture tells us that if we love God we will keep His commandments. Love should ensure that we won't violate the relationship. We wouldn't cause pain on purpose. Love should ensure we won't turn our backs on God or one another when things don't go the way we think they should.

"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~John 13:35 NKJV

Love for one another. Love, real agape love, spiritual and selfless love. Unconditional love. Love that sees your faults and loves you anyway. Love that wants to build you up, encourage you to be a better you not a different superficial you.  Love that sees beyond the clothes we wear, brand name or thrift store. Love that sees beyond the silver in our hair, the winkles, the color or our skin. Love that sees beyond the cars and houses we have or don't have. Love that takes time to listen to your heart, love that commits, love that lends a helping hand expecting nothing in return. Love that shines through your eyes, smile, and the words you speak. Love that shows evidence that God lives within us.

Love is the very essence of God. The very essence of who we should be. Are we living love? When we look in the mirror do we see love, hate, maybe indifference?

Everyday before you get out of bed, before you utter that first word. Ask God to fill you with His love. Enough so it overflows from you to others.

Proverbs 10:12, 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, and
John 3:16.

Crissy Johnson 2014