Fruits of the Spirit In-depth Study and Application “Joy”

“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 

O to have the joy of the Lord! The prophet Nehemiah declared the Joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). The word for joy here in Hebrew is “chedvah”( Lexicon :: Strong’s H2304), which also means gladness or rejoicing. In other words, the fruit of being connected and in constant communion with Christ, is having gladness. Being connected to Jesus is in itself reason enough to rejoice and be glad. 

The apostle Paul concludes that knowing Jesus is the very root of Joy in Philippians 3:7-9. Why? Consider what Jesus did for us. According to Ephesians, Chapter 2:4-9, God has: 

● Made us alive in Christ to sit in heavenly places 

● Given us access to immeasurable riches and kindness 

● Gifted us with salvation knowing that we could not earn or repay Him.

On top of that,verses 13-21 tell us that through the blood of Jesus: 

● We are in close fellowship with our Heavenly Father 

● We are made whole and reconciled to God 

● We are built together into a new family–the Household of God. Does this not make you want to rejoice? To make it simple, the fruit of Joy is birthed in our constant awareness of God’s love and Jesus’s sacrifice for us. How can one not rejoice in knowing that Jesus sacrificed his life not only for their sins but also for their right to an abundant life according to John 10:10? Even when facing grim circumstances, can you rejoice believing that the end result and outcome will be for your benefit and promotion? When you are connected to the true vine, Jesus Christ, this is your reality. Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice (Philippians 4:4)!

Lets pray! Father, thank You for Your love. Thank you for accepting me into your family. I rejoice in you! I declare, in the name of Jesus, that I receive your joy unspeakable and full of glory according to 1 Peter 1:8. I declare my joy and gladness tank is full according to John 15:11. Thank you Lord for you Goodness and mercy always following me. I evict anxiety, sorrow, depression and fear from my life and I put a bloodline of Jesus between me and them. Replace them with the gifts and benefits of a child of God! Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus! I declare it is done in Jesus name! 

What is Praise & Worship?

Psalm 150: 1-6
Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise Him in his mighty heavens! Praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with lute and harp! Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with strings and pipe! Praise Him with sounding cymbals; praise Him with loud clashing cymbals!

Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before Him, all the earth! Psalm 96:9

The Bible is filled with accounts of persons magnifying the Lord, offering heartful praise and worship in response to His unequaled love, faithfulness and sovereignty! One of the most notable worshippers was David, who wrote most of the book of Psalms. He played the harp and was recognized as a man after God’s own heart!

With much thanksgiving and exhilaration, praise is usually expressed through singing, shouting, standing, the lifting of hands, clapping and dancing. It is an external form of adoration to God, declaring his Word, worthiness, and joyfully recounting and remembering His work in our lives. Praise is also a mighty weapon in spiritual warfare! The enemy is confused whenever we can still acknowledge God’s goodness in the midst of attack and circumstance! When Paul and Silas were falsely accused and imprisoned, instead of giving into despair, they praised God and experienced a remarkable miracle! Acts 16:26

Worship can have characteristics of praise, but in general, this is a time of deeper, more intimate fellowship and connection with the Lord. In the quieting of the mind and heart, we are met by the Holy Spirit who speaks to, comforts and convicts us. During this time, we may find ourselves kneeling or bowing down as a show of complete surrender and humility, inescapably aware of the Lord’s presence and glory!

Be encouraged to give your whole heart, mind, body and soul in reverence to God, knowing that He loves and delights in you! Even in the times where you may not feel like praising or worshipping, I pray that you would sacrificially do so, holding onto His Word and promises! We join in with all of heaven and confess: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come!” Revelation 4:8

The Top Thing to Do When You Feel Forgotten

Written by Dr. Faith Pierce

“Do I matter? Has God forgotten me?”

Have these refrains been reverberating in your head?

Maybe you are used to shoving your needs aside to prioritize work, an aging parent, or a selfish spouse. But time continues to zoom by while your life is stuck on idling. 

Take your co-worker, for instance—former co-worker, that is. Now that the big boss has bestowed her a promotion, she saunters into the office with a new Prada purse and pinstripe suit.  

What about your raise? When is it coming?

At the end of another blurry week—when “desire fulfilled” (Proverbs 13:12) feels more foreign than a French menu—do you question whether God sees you? If He cares about what you are going through? Is the Lord too preoccupied to keep track of yourpuny plight?

Working at a ministry which features so many in need of so much, I never exhaust the list of hurting souls to attend to. Getting lost in their needs is easy as exhaling.

What is more, Does God care about me?—a taboo thought—strives to sneak in with every breath.

Straggling back to my office one Monday—muddled between miserable and morose—I barely notice the approaching man. 

The brisk bounce in his steps announces his tenacity to tackle the day with joyful eagerness. 

So contrary to my mood. 

As the guy passed, he tosses two infectious words my way. 

“Hi, Sister!” 

Brief, but bursting with meaning.

His chipper tone is not what perks me up. It is that he captures my core identity: a fellow Christian—a sister in the faith. A split second is all it takes for him to highlight the one thing that matters in the midst of my melancholy. I’m a daughter of the Most High! 

Reality is registering. Of coursethe Father has not forgotten me. As though building on the man’s words, God assures my heart. “I’ve seen what you’ve been through, dearest. You’re never alone.” 

That brief encounter was like a spritz of fresh oxygen to my spirit, I have to pass it on to you. This is how we are going to do it: read one line, then do accordingly.

  • Scrutinize your hands. (Yep, I am doing it now.)
  • Flip them palm-side up, and examine each hand. Do your palms look identical? (Mine do not, because of a couple of moles on my left hand.)
  • Aside from the meandering lines etched on each palm, what else is there? (I spot said moles on my left palm.) 
  • Rub your right palm with your other hand. Appreciate the texture of that palm. Then do the same with your left palm.

Why are we doing this, you ask? 

To imitate God. After all, He gazes at His palms—a lot—and for good reasons:

Can a woman forget her nursing child? Will she have no compassion on the child from her womb? Although mothers may forget, I will not forget you. I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Your walls are always in my presence (Isaiah 49:15-16, GWT).

Next time doubts squawk, “God’s forgotten you!”, look down. 

Peer at your palms.

Remember that He will never forget you. 

Ever.

Since His palms bear a tattoo of your smiling face, why should you frown? 

Dr. Faith Pierce is a licensed psychologist in California. She has a PhD in Clinical Psychology and an MA in Theology.  Other than her name, which is a pseudonym, everything else about her is true.

Is it Bad to Compare Myself?

Do you sometimes feel like you are less than enough? My dear friend, I hope this resonates with you today. You are God’s creation; He made you exactly how He wanted to. You are not lacking. You were dreamed up and made uniquely with characteristics all your own.

We always hear “comparison is the thief of joy.” But what if our perspective of comparison is skewed? We try so hard not to compare ourselves to others because all we come up with are negative ways in which we are lacking. Stop hating what you are NOT, and start loving what you ARE!

As humans, comparison is a natural thought process. It is how we relate ourselves and things to reality. If done in a healthy way, it is essential to growth and maturity. Telling ourselves to stop thinking will just result in shame and guilt.

Abandoning comparison would be disregarding the desire to be more like God. We are told to renew our minds to be more Christ-like. We can rewire HOW we think!

Guide your thought process. Abandon envy, jealousy, pride, and self-pity. Call out the godliness others have applied in their lives with humility and grace. Build them up! Thank God for how He made your brother or sister in Christ.  Then pray and apply God’s characteristics in your own life.

Ask Him to shepherd you in those areas in need of maturing and ask for peace in the season of life you are in, with the knowledge that it may differ from someone else. Relate everything not to a person and their differences from you but to God’s character, the truth of His Word and the foundation of what it says about your identity.

We are all different. However, sometimes this knowledge drains us of joy and replaces it with insecurity. Instead, let us allow it to fuel our growth!  We are beautifully and wonderfully made.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 

Pray this prayer with me today: “Dear ABBA Father, thank You for how you lovingly and intricately pieced me together.  When I am feeling worthless and unloved, help me to stand on Your promise that I am beautifully and wonderfully made.  I destroy all lies from the enemy that make me compare and envy others.  I pray that I would be an encouragement and bolster to others that calls out the godliness and identity in them.  Help me to renew my mind constantly and be more like You every day.  Please be my Shepherd, Lord, and help me to grow and mature.  Help me to love You, love others, and love myself as Your creation. Amen. 

Keys to Your Divine Promotion

God’s plan for us is that we move from glory to glory, according to 2 Corinthians 3:18. As we grow and mature, God will move us into new assignments, or promote us. There are keys to divine promotion.

David is an example of a man who was promoted. David was the youngest child to Jesse, who tended the sheep for his family. His father did not even summon him when Samuel came looking for the son who would be king. David learned many lessons during his life. He learned to protect the sheep from wild animals. In his days of shepherding he learned how to abide in God’s presence. In time, he moved to the palace where he played his harp to soothe King Saul. He learned how to minister to the king even during fits of rage. When Goliath began to threaten the Israelites, David refused to listen to the taunts of the enemy and went out to defy him. David defeated Goliath with the 5 smooth stones and the power of God. He ended up in the wilderness running for his life as Saul tried to kill him. Even during this wilderness time, David refused to retaliate when he had the opportunity.

Eventually, David became King, just as Samuel prophesied. But in every season of his life, David overcame many obstacles and matured and grew in God. Even when David sinned against God, he repented and came back into right standing with God. God called David a man after His own heart. We can see from David’s life that as he overcame in each season, God promoted him to his next season.

Another key to promotion is humility. James 4:10 says that if we humble ourselves before the Lord, He will exalt us. That means that even as we have successes in life, it is important to stay humble and let God will promote us. Trying to promote ourselves is ineffective. If we manage to manipulate circumstances to promote ourselves, we will have to continue to use the same tactics to keep ourselves there. It is important to trust that God will promote us at the right time, when we’re ready. Proverbs 3:5,6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Promotion comes when God determines that we are ready. As we are faithful to do what He has given to us each day, He is ever molding and creating us into the image of Christ. It is our Christ-likeness that He is looking for in us. Psalms 1:1-3 illustrates this well. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Our prosperity and promotion are connected to the way we conduct our lives. When our hearts are pleasing to God, He can trust us with more. Psalm 20:4 says, “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire and fulfill all your purpose.”  As we walk through his process of preparation, our hearts are changed and made ready for promotion. And as we wait upon Him, He promises to renew our strength so that we will be ready for the next season.

Are you ready to unlock your promotion? Check out Isik’s guide for additional scriptures and prayer points!