Unexpected Change

Our lives change on a day-to-day basis.  We cannot stop change.  We cannot fight change.  It just happens.  An unexpected change can cause frustration, sadness, depression, and fear.  In some cases, it can cause joy and relief.  It all depends on what the change is in your life.  Below will be eight things to remember if you are experiencing unexpected change:

1) CHANGE IS A PROCESS NOT AN EVENT

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Change is something to process.  It is not a one time deal.  It takes time to go through our emotions and find joy in the change in our lives, no matter if it is good or bad.

2) GOD’S WILL BE DONE

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Have you ever prayed: “God’s will be done”?  If we want to mature in Christ, we must accept change in our lives.  We may not see it as good in the beginning, but in the end, we will be happier for the change.

3) THE FUTURE IS UNEXPECTED

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God has plans for your future and sometimes that causes you to make changes in your life.  The future is the unknown, and we all have to take a risk to step into our destiny.

4) THE UNEXPECTED CHANGES YOU FOR THE BETTER

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We may not like change, but change makes us better.  It teaches us to grow and not live by emotions.  It shows us how accept change in every situation.

5) IT’S ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE

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When we stop looking at the negative and see the positive on life, we begin to change our perspective.  We see how change will be good in our lives rather than be consumed with emotions.  We see past our circumstances and look toward our future.

6) LIFE GOES ON…

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We have two choices: we can try to fight the change or we can accept the change.  No matter what we choose, the change will happen.  We can be stuck in our past or embrace the future.  It is our choice.

7) LIVE WITH NO REGRETS

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Enjoy your life in every season.  Live with no regrets, because  life changes quickly.  People come and go in your life.  Always love those around you and remind them how important they are to you.

8) FIVE STEPS TO CHANGE

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If it is possible, take time to write down these five steps to making major life changes.  Underneath each step write down your answers.  I encourage you to pray about the change you are wanting to make and allow God to intervene in your decision.  If it is an unexpected change, ask God for guidance and find peace in Him through this transition.

Emotions

We all have emotions.  Some are good and some are bad.  According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary the word emotion means “a strong feeling such as love, anger, joy, hate, or fear.  It also means “a state of feeling, and a conscious mental reaction subjectively experienced as a strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body.”

Emotions occur when something changes in our lives, and we are either excited or disgruntled.  Emotions are only positive when we have self-control.  Self-control helps us keep our emotions in check, and allows us to walk in the spirit rather than our flesh.  Self-control is defined as “the ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires or the expression of them in one’s behavior, especially in difficult situations.”  Some of the words that describe self-control are self-discipline, restraint, willpower, composure, coolness, and temperance.  Self-control is one of the hardest fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) to live by, because it takes us getting out of our flesh and living for God.  It is a lifestyle that we must all live by as Christians.

In the verses before Galatians 5:22-23, the Bible states that our emotions can lead to sin.  In verses 16 – 21, it warns us about living in the flesh and not by the Spirit.

“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.  The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants.  And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires.  These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.  But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,  idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Unhealthy emotions lead us to anger, jealousy, envy, and so forth.  These kind of emotions cause us to hold grudges, to be selfish, and to act in sinful ways.  Proverbs 25:28 describes “a person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.”  If we do not have self-control over our emotions, we are like a broken city with destruction all around us.

This week evaluate your emotional state and see if it lines up with God’s Word.  Are your emotions in check or are they out of control?  Our emotions can be described as a volcano about to erupt.  When our emotions are running rampant, we do not think logically.  We live by our emotions and not realize the destruction we may cause if they erupt all at one time.  Recently, I was reminded to think before you react.  The next time you feel emotional, step back and wait until you can think logically. Do not act on your emotions.  I encourage you to pray before you speak or act and allow God to guide your steps.

Life

In the last few weeks, I have pondered about “life”.  What does it look like to live for Jesus?  What does it all mean?  Life is meant to be lived to the fullest.  It is meant to have surprises along the way to build our character and endurance — good or bad.  Life is much like a roller coaster with twists and turns.  Sometimes we go through chaos and confusion.  And other times, there is peace and full of wonder.  Life can be crazy, at times, and we can lose focus on God.  We forget our purpose in life.

God is a good God, all the time!  Let me say that again: God is a good God, all the time!!!  God has given us a life to live through Him!  We do life together with God.  We lack nothing!  God provides for our everyday needs.  He comforts us through bad times.  He celebrates with us in victories.  He is always there to pick us up when we feel defeated.

Life is about doing life with Christ!

Simple as that! — Life is about doing life with Christ!  No matter your circumstances, God is with you.

Recently, I have learned a hard lesson about prayer, and how not to react to God when my prayers are not exactly answered how I want them to be.  I have been sick for the last six years with sinus issues and migraines.  I prayed for God’s healing in the matter.  I went to see a specialist and was told I need sinus surgery immediately.  I truly believed that God would give me His healing touch, but instead He is working through a surgeon to heal me.  It was not exactly the same prayer that I prayed.  I have a choice.  I can either be mad at God for not completely healing me through His power or be thankful for answers.  I am told that I will be completely well by January.  My life circumstances is not where I want them to be, but I do believe we go through trials for a reason.  I also believe I will learn something through this process.

Life is all about perspective.  It is believing that God is with you, no matter what!  I know that God will carry me through this difficult season in His arms.  I will feel His heartbeat with mine.

The things is, life is unpredictable.  Sometimes life may be misunderstood.  We ask the “why’s” instead of the “how’s”.  We expect life to be smooth when God needs us to grow in Him through some hardships.  The truth is, life is unfair, but is it all about how we look at it.  It is all about how we respond to bad news.

Do we put our trust in God?  Or do we let our emotions get the best of us?  Right now, that is a hard question to ask myself.

So…Life…How are you living it — with Christ or in the world?  Life is so much better with God in it!

 

Fruit of the Spirit – Self-Control

Today, we will be breaking down the fruit of the Spirit: SELF-CONTROL. The following definitions come from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The Scripture version are from the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible.

Self-Control

Self-control is described as having control over your feelings or actions or restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions or desires. Self-control can be described in a simpler way as not letting our emotions to get the best of us. There are many emotions that can override our faith such as fear, anger, and disappointment. Second Timothy 1:7 says “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” To manage our emotions and desires, we must have a strong prayer life. If we do not spend time with God every day, there will be no peace in our lives. Our emotions would be out of control, and we would remain in a state of confusion. Our thought process and emotions will become irrational and our actions will not dictate who Jesus is. Our flesh will take over on what we say and how we act. First Thessalonians 4:4 says “that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor.” God expects us to have self-control over our lives and be Christ-like in everything we do.

Application

Do you let your emotions to get the best of you?  Do you get angry or frustrated quickly?  Can you control your emotions?  I can honestly say, I sometimes cannot control my emotions, and I have to take a step back, after reacting in the wrong way, to correct my actions.  I am a very passionate person, and if someone criticizes or judges me for what I love to do, I defend it with harsh negative words.  You might can relate with a similar situation.

We all have areas in our lives that if pushed too far, we will say or do things that is not of God.  We are all human, and that’s why God gives us grace.  He gives us second chances to make it right.

When our emotions override our faith, we are not being Christ-like.  When we have self-control and allow God to work through our emotions, we are showing the world that we can stay calm through difficult situations.  Where are your emotions today?  Are they under control?  Is this an area that you need to work on and pray about?  Ask God to help you.

Fruit of the Spirit – Faithfulness

Today, we will be breaking down the fruit of the Spirit: FAITHFULNESS. The following definitions come from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The Scripture version are from the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible.

Faithfulness

Faithfulness is having or showing true and constant support or loyalty. It can also be described as deserving trust and keeping your promises or doing what you are supposed to do. God mentions faithfulness throughout the Bible. The faithfulness that God is referring to in Galatians 5:22-23 is to keep our promises with Him and with others. We need to stay loyal to our word and not disappoint those who are counting on us to come through for them. Luke 16:10-12 states that “one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” When we live by our word, we are becoming more like God. Deuteronomy 7:9 says “that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations.” The world is filled with false promises and hopes, and we, as Christians, need to stay true to our word to show them who Christ is through our actions.

Application

Do you have a hard time keeping your promises?  Are you faithful to those around you and honor your word?  God’s word is always faithful and true.  To show who God is to the world, we must be loyal to what we say and do.  We need to encourage those around us by staying faithful to our commitments.

Fruit of the Spirit – Kindness, Goodness, and Gentleness

Today, we will be breaking down the fruits of the Spirit: KINDNESS, GOODNESS, and GENTLENESS. The following definitions come from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The Scripture version are from the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible.

Kindness, Goodness, and Gentleness

Kindness, goodness, and gentleness are all characteristics that work closely together. The definition of kindness is the quality or state of being kind or a kind act. The word goodness means the quality or state of being good. Gentleness means the quality or state of being gentle as well as mildness of manners or disposition. There is more to being a Christian than accomplishing good deeds. Our motives behind our good deeds matter to God. We need to have a kind and gentle heart while we complete God’s work. It is easy to be kind to others when they are kind to us, but what about those who are unfriendly and mistreat us. Are we holding a grudge against those people or are we showing them kindness. God says we are to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). He also says to “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” (Luke 6:35). Titus 3:2 tells us to “speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward[s] all people.” When we are showing kindness and gentleness, while doing good, God is working through us for others to see His ways and not the world’s. It is vital that we look like Jesus through our words and actions.

Application

Is there someone in your life that makes life difficult?  Do you struggle showing kindness towards him or her?  God has asked everyone, not just you, to be Jesus to the world.  That means we must show kindness to everyone, not be selective to who deserves it.

In everything we do, we must have good motive.  God looks at goodness as our heart.  When we do something for God, we must do it in the goodness of our heart, not expecting anything in return.  This is not always easy.  God may ask of something that stretches our faith or boundaries that we have set for ourselves.  God wants a cheerful heart in everything we do for Him!

Our words and actions can hurt people without even realizing what we are saying or doing.  Our words must be gentle so we do not let others feel worthless or judged.  Our actions must be synchronized with God so we know that they reflect Him and not the world.

All these things above: Kindness, Goodness, and Gentleness are all from God.  Jesus functioned in all of these so that He could bring light into a dark and weary world.  We are called to do the same.  If you feel like you lack in one or more areas, take the time to pray and read the Bible.  I encourage you to read about how Jesus lived here on earth.  It is the greatest example of walking out the fruits of the Spirit.

Fruit of the Spirit – Patience

Today, we will be breaking down the fruit of the Spirit: PATIENCE. The following definitions come from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The Scripture version are from the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible.

Patience

Patience is not a virtue that most people are born with but perfected through maturity. We live in a world that demands immediate results. This kind of thinking is called the “microwave mentality.” If we want something now, we purchase it and think about the consequences later. The word patient is defined as able to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or when dealing with problems or difficult people. Another definition of patience is waiting over a long period of time without hurrying. Romans 8:25 says, “if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

Psalm 37:7-9 comforts us by saying, “be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in His way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.” God rewards us as we patiently wait for Him to work in our lives.

Application

Do you get impatient easily when something is not going your way or just having to wait too long for answers.  In life, we all expected to wait on something — in line at a store, stopped traffic on the road, delayed answered prayers from God, and so forth.  How do you spend that time while waiting?  Do you grumble and get irritated the longer you wait?  Or do you try to find something positive in that situation?  I am guilty of being impatient and then regretting my negative thoughts afterwards.  If you wait with a good attitude, God honors you.  The next time you may feel anxious and impatient, remember what God said: “Be sill before the Lord and wait patiently for Him”

Fruit of the Spirit – Peace

Today, we will be breaking down the fruit of the Spirit: PEACE. The following definitions come from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The Scripture version are from the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible.

Peace

As we grow in our Christian walk, we will experience God’s peace. When we believe God will help us through difficult times, we exchange our worry for His peace. We do not allow our emotions to overwhelm us, but, instead, we put our trust in God. Peace is a state in which there is no war or fighting. John 16:33 God says “that in [Him] you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; [He has] overcome the world.” Colossians 3:15 says, “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” According to this Scripture, God is peace. It originates from Him.

In the Book of Colossians, chapter 3, verse 14, it states that love “binds everything together in perfect harmony.” We see in this Scripture that love and peace collide together with perfection. The perfect love that God has for us brings peace into our lives. May “the Lord lift up His countenance upon [us] and give [us] peace” (Numbers 6:26).

Application

Do you have peace in your life?  Do you feel anxious about something or someone?  When you completely trust God with your life, He overwhelms you with His peace.  The world may be full of chaos and confusion, but, with God, He is peace.  He is your peace maker in the midst of life’s storms.

Fruit of the Spirit – Introduction

The more we grow in Christ, the more we get to know who He is and who we are through Him. One way to grow in our Christian walk is to allow the Bible to transform our lives. It is a Book full of redemption, love, grace, hope, and forgiveness. The Bible shows us how to live a Godly life. Galatians 5:22-23 is a life-changing Scripture that not only speaks truth over our lives but challenges us to live a righteous life.

First, God warns us what is not Christ-like. “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

Then, God explains what is expected of us as Christians. He tells us how we need to live by the fruit of the Spirit. “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.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:22-24).

The words, “fruit of the Spirit” has great significance in the Scripture above. The word “Spirit” is referring to God Himself. The descriptive words, “love, joy, peace” etc. that follow are describing who God is: God is love, He is joy, and so forth. God is asking us to be just like Him. When we act more like Him, we are being fruitful. Metaphorically, we are much like a tree. God is the roots and the trunk. He is the Spirit that lives in us and helps us grow strong in our faith. We are the branches and the fruit. We determine how many branches we have on the tree, and how much fruit it produces by the way we live.

According to Galatians 5, there are nine fruits of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is a great way to evaluate our lives to see whether or not our actions and words reflect the way Jesus lived on earth. As Christians, the world needs to see us acting Christ-like and know that we are not hypocrites. Sometimes our actions do not reflect who Jesus is, and it distorts how the world sees Christians. That is why it is important to live our lives as it states in Galatians 5:22-23.

As we breakdown the fruits of the Spirit, I encourage you to not just to read the text but ask God for a deeper understanding of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Application:

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

LOVE

JOY

PEACE

PATIENCE

KINDNESS

GOODNESS

FAITHFULNESS

GENTLENESS

SELF-CONTROL

Before we break down the fruits of the Spirit, write down your weaknesses and strengths. I encourage you to be honest with yourself. This exercise is to guide you in prayer and to help you figure out which areas to focus on as you continue to grow in Christ.