Saturday, July 25, 2009


“Since God chose you
to be the holy people he loves,
you must clothe yourselves with
tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility,
gentleness, and patience.”
Colossians 3:12 NLT

Newer translations use the word “gentleness” rather than “meekness” to convey the meaning of the Greek word (prautes). The reason is - in today’s culture the word “meek” brings to mind someone who is sort of withdrawn, timid and shy - a “milk toasty” personality. The word originally conveyed the idea of strength. Classical Greek also used (prautes) of animals that were powerful, yet tamed and under control. In other words gentleness is power under control. That is why many present day translations use the word “gentle” instead of “meek” to convey the meaning of (prautes).

In Matthew 11:29 Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle (prautes) at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jesus had been given all power and authority in heaven and on earth, and yet refers to himself as “gentle.” That is power under control.

As parents we need to guard ourselves when we discipline our children. In times of frustration we can easily vent our anger on them and turn them against us and God. Paul warns about this in Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” Gentleness is power under control.

“Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.” (Colossians 3:19) In other words, always treat your wife gently – that’s power under control.

“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” (Galatians 6:1) When a fellow Christian falls into sin, we can easily be judgmental and tell ourselves, “we would never do that.” Gentleness has the power to overcome such an attitude and enable us to help the fallen Christian back on track with the Lord.

In the business world, some people have the idea that they have to be cold and stern to show others who is in charge. The reality is, this is a sign of weakness. The strong person is “tenderhearted, merciful, kind, humble, gentle, and patient.” Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing is so gentle as true strength. -- Ralph Sockman

Let’s Pray-
Oh Holy Spirit, show us what hinders your work in our lives. Help us to be truly repentant, so the fruit of gentleness may mature in us.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


“For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness
continues to each generation.”
Psalm 100:5 NLT

Faithfulness – what a beautiful word! It brings all sorts of comforting and reassuring thoughts to mind. A faithful person keeps his promises – is reliable - trustworthy – loyal – never stops loving, no matter what the cost. As wonderful as that sounds, in all honesty we have to admit there are times when we have been less than totally reliable or trustworthy. We haven’t always kept the promises we’ve made. We have let people and God down. There is room for us to grow in faithfulness.

God has always been perfectly faithful, in every regard, all the time, and he sent his Son to personify what true faithfulness looks like in human form. When Jesus’ earthly parents missed him on the way home from the Passover festival, after searching, they found him at the temple asking questions of the religious leaders. Luke (2:48-49,51) says, his parents asked him “why have you done this to us?” And his response was “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” “Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.” Jesus clearly was totally faithful to his heavenly Father and to his earthly parents.

As an adult, Jesus chose 12 disciples to proclaim his teaching after he was gone. They disappointed him repeatedly with their lack of faith and their squabbling over who would be number one. Even when they forsook him, he remained faithful to them. He prayed to the Father, “During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.” (John 17:12) Jesus remained faithful to them.

Even when it meant facing the cross, he was faithful to the Father. Mark tells us that Jesus fell to the ground and “cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (14:36) He was faithful to the point of suffering the penalty for our sins.

As we yield to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we grow in faithfulness to God. And faithfulness to God translates into faithfulness to our marriage partner – family members – friends – and everyone with whom we have a relationship. Being unfaithful to anyone is unfaithfulness to God, and calls for repentance. “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9) God has made every provision to help us grow in faithfulness.

Let’s Pray-
Thank you Father, for giving us the Holy Spirit, to produce the fruit of faithfulness in our lives.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


“For the Kingdom of God
is not a matter of what we eat or drink,
but of living a life
of goodness
and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 14:17 NLT
What does it mean for something to be good? The word is used in all sorts of ways – good car– a good reason – good eyesight – good deal – good fortune – good person, etc., etc. From the way we commonly use the word, there seem to be three aspects to it.

First, something is called good when it fulfills its intended purpose or meets expectations. The first use of the word in scripture is concerning creation. At the end of each day’s work, God concluded that what he had done “was good.” At the end of the sixth day he “looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!” Creation fulfilled God’s intended purpose for the natural world; it met his expectations, and that’s why he called it good.

A second kind of goodness is called morality. God created heaven and earth and everything that exists. He has all knowledge, power and authority, and so he is the one who determined what is morally right or wrong. Everything he says and does is governed by his own eternal moral law. He is absolutely righteous and just. He is the personification of love, mercy and grace. He is eternal truth and He never changes. Everything he does is good. The scripture bears abundant witness to that reality. Over and over it admonishes us to “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” Goodness is his nature and the heart of his character - he always does what is right. Through man’s disobedience the seed of death entered the human race, ruining man’s moral goodness. But God in infinite goodness made a way for us to become “a new creation” through Christ. Now as born again children of God, his Holy Spirit is able to cause his moral goodness to grow in our lives.

Thirdly, we call something good when it brings some sort of benefit. While salvation is by God’s grace alone, “living a life of goodness” as revealed in his Word definitely brings benefits. It makes God’s goodness visible to people around us and gives them a desire to know him. It makes us better marriage partners, better parents, better employers, employees or citizens. Above all, it makes us more Christ-like and so brings glory to God. As a bonus, it brings us “peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Let’s Pray –
Father we thank you for being so good and giving us your Holy Spirit to produce the fruit of goodness in our lives. Help us to repent of anything that hinders the growth of that fruit in us.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


“Be kind to each other, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another,
just as God through Christ
has forgiven you.”
Ephesians 4:32 NLT

The dictionary defines kindness as: “the quality of being warm-hearted and considerate and humane and sympathetic.” To be on the receiving end of kindness is a gratifying experience. It leaves us with a positive feeling towards those who have shown us kindness.

Kindness is one of the virtues of God. “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” Ephesians 1:7 NLT He also gives us the Holy Spirit to produce his fruit in us which includes “kindness.”

Our natural self-centeredness makes it a challenge to show true kindness.
Have you ever caught yourself showing “kindness,” for the benefit it would bring you or because someone was watching and you wanted to make an impression? True kindness is shown because it is the right thing to do regardless of the response. That’s how God shows kindness. He gave his Son for the salvation of sinful humanity regardless of our response. But of course, it’s only those of us who believe on his Son who benefit from his kindness.

The nine facets of the fruit of the Spirit begin with love because the other eight flow from it. Without God’s love in our heart, we are unable to have true lasting joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. But with God’s love in us, these virtues will not only be present in our lives but grow and flourish to the degree that we love and obey him.

Opportunities to show kindness are all around us wherever and whenever our lives touch other people. It can be as simple as a genuine smile, or as demanding as forgiving someone who has seriously wronged us. In between these two extremes, the rest of life falls. Holding the door for a handicapped person – taking a meal to a shut-in – giving a deserved complement – baby sitting for a frazzled mom – visiting the sick - helping the poor - husbands helping around the house etc., etc.

Though we should never show kindness just because it may bring us some good in return: Jesus did say, “Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Luke 6:37, 38 NLT

Let’s Pray-
Father, your immeasurable kindness surrounds us every day. May your Spirit increasingly produce that virtue in our lives.