Eden shattered, humanity longs for a life-giving orchard to rise up once again. For the past two months, we’ve been inspecting this garden God promises to grow in us. Let’s wrap up our study on the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and now self-control.Read More »
At the risk of sounding like a creeper, I adore watching older couples in love. Their passion is far removed from teenage puppy love or a flirtation at the bar between twenty-somethings. There’s a quality of richness and depth about it—endurance. Perseverance. Faithfulness. This hard-won romance is the stuff Hollywood movies should really be made of. Don’t we all wonder what happily ever after looks like? While there are many expressions of faithfulness, we find it nestled snugly among the outworking of God in our lives.Read More »
I love a good underdog story, and apparently, so does God. We’ve seen how He has historically used the last things one would expect to bring His kingdom in our hearts—not brilliance or power or fame or determination. Against all odds, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness win the day. This upside-down life of the Spirit gets better and better as the seeds He plants begin bearing fruit. Let’s move forward into a look at gentleness, the next underdog to wear a crown.Read More »
Well, for goodness’ sake!
A kid growing up in the south might consider goodness as an expletive for church ladies. We, however, know the truth: we can widen our trunks and stretch up to the sky as the Spirit grows this particular fruit in our lives, yielding a rich harvest.Read More »
We’ve just crossed the official threshold of spring. Time to think of warmer days and an early harvest of juicy fruit. Soon the markets will abound with zesty lemons and sweet strawberries, peaches and nectarines, grapes and bananas and oranges. In the spiritual realm, we can keep an eye out for a fresh harvest, too: of love, joy, peace, and now patience.Read More »
Every believer used to be part of an angry apple orchard, just like the one in Oz. Our natural state was to grow bitterness, selfishness, deceit, pride, fear, and a host of other rotting things from the core of who we were, lobbing them at anyone unsavvy enough to pass by. Last week we looked at how the Spirit moves in and produces new fruit in our hearts, fruit we can’t manufacture on our own. We’ve covered love. Let’s turn now to joy: “a delight of the mind, from the consideration of the present or assured approaching possession of a good” (Webster’s 1828 dictionary).Read More »
When’s the last time you strolled through an apple orchard hunting for coconuts? Or bananas? Or peaches? Hopefully never. (If you have, we can schedule a time to sit down and talk.) The fruit you’ll find in nature always depends on the seed it sprang from. Unless you intentionally cut off a branch of the apple tree and graft on a new species in its place, that apple tree will only ever produce apples.Read More »