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Currently Browsing: Fruits of the Spirit
Feb
15

The Monster Called Arrogance

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A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,

but only in expressing his opinion.

~ Proverbs 18:2

Rarely a day goes by that I do not see it – a calling out of someone publicly. The topics vary, yet the reasons remain unwavering: the need to be right and be praised for it. Unknown fingers fly across keyboards, faces hidden, motives clear: humiliate whoever disagrees with your stance. What ought to be a private conversation, becomes a carnival show of hate. The aftermath of this arrogant judgement and spewed hatred is always the same: hurt feelings, humiliation, scathing remarks that leave scars heart deep on the victim. The claim of justification for the vitriol immutable: accountability while sharing the truth in love.

On the heels of this prideful  judgement, gossip and slander never fail to follow. And this monster called arrogance grows.

IMG_8684I expect it from the abyss of the world who is absence Yeshua and His love, ignorant to His grace and His Truth; for those who claim to walk in Torah, it perpetually blindsides me. I suppose I just expect more from people who serve an Elohim of love, who ought to be reflecting that love.

Pride and arrogance are fed by our insecurities. They are fed by our carnal desires for praise and adoration from people. We ought to ask ourselves when this shift took place, when being more pleased with the adoration of men and being less pleasing to Yahweh was allowed a foothold. He created us for a purpose only known to himself and ego fed desires thwart our purpose creating a path of self-reliance. Self-reliance steals the glory from the only one who deserves it. And regardless of the plan, we each have a duty as a follower of Yeshua: create disciples and teach them His commandments. Who wants to follow Yeshua if His followers are proud and arrogant, prone to slander and gossip and hate speech, quick to publicly shame those they indignantly judge?

Yeshua was the perfect picture of humility. His words convicted, never humiliated. Even in a crowd. Why if we claim to follow Him, is it so difficult to tame our tongues, speak words that teach and heal? Because the tongue is an unruly evil that no man can tame.

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man is able to tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, filled with deadly poison. With it we bless our Elohim and Father, and with it we curse man who have been made in the likeness of Elohim. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brothers, this should not be so. ~ James 3:7-10

And for that reason alone, we can not wage a war with everyone who disagrees with us. I would suggest the best path is one of silence and meditation on the Word for He teaches us the way to walk, to speak, to act, to be faithful. And that is the way it should be, a walking out of our faith in such a way that it intrigues people and makes them seek Yeshua and His truth.

Pride always points to us; sharing truth and exemplifying love and grace point to Him.

IMG_8838I believe we ought to have a boldness. But that boldness must present in the form of an unwavering stance of adhering to truth and not in a form of bullying and hostility and shaming. For we are called to be a peculiar people, example setters, a beacon of light.  Screaming opinions, bullying others, and prideful words never changed anyone’s mind.

I would even say this: if you must call some one out by name on their behavior or belief and you do it in a public forum such as facebook, you most certainly are doing it for your glory, not Yahweh’s. You are doing it to show all your connections how right you are and how knowledgeable you are all while shaming someone else to show how wrong they are and how ignorant they are. Sounds a little bit like the Pharisees if you ask me. Yeshua has much to say about them too: He called them hypocrites and vipers.

There is always a possibility we are wrong; if there was not, we would be Yahweh. Being open to that possibility allows truth to emerge. Being humble allows us to be taught. If our position is simply proving we are right, then we are arrogant to believe we are more knowledgeable than our Elohim who seeks to teach us and mold us in His image. And above all, His image is love and His image is Truth.

The worst thing is not being wrong, but being an abomination to Yahweh.

These six matters Yahweh hates, and seven are an abomination to Him:

a proud look,

a lying tongue,

and hands shedding innocent blood,

a heart devising wicked schemes,

feet quick to run to evil,

a false witness breathing out lies,

and one who causes strife among brothers.

But we are told how to protect ourselves from falling into the trap of these abominations:

My son, watch over your father’s command,

and do not forsake the Torah of your mother.

Bind them on your heart always;

tie them around your neck.

When you are walking about, it leads you;

when you lie down, it guards you.

And when you have woken up, it talks to you.

And then we are told why:

For the command is a lamp,

and the Torah a light,

and reproofs of discipline a way of life.

~ Proverbs 6:16-23

He gives us good instruction and yet we forsake His Torah. We ignore the words that lead us in the way to be holy and righteous and good. All for the satisfaction of being right. For being praised. For adoration. For a soon forgotten moment’s glory. For the applause, most often, of people we do not even know. All for a tongue that will not be tamed and for a fleeting satisfaction that can never fill our deep inadequacies that are only meant to be filled with Yeshua.

As Yahweh’s created, we need to be on our faces before Him seeking true humility and cloaking ourselves in it because if our walk doesn’t match His commandment to love, our witness is void.

IMG_8632Love is never proud. It does not boast. Nor is it self-seeking, easily angered, dishonoring to others. And if you must go around telling everyone how humble you are, how loving you are, how you are just speaking the truth in love, then probably you are not. There is a reason we are known by our fruits: they are seen not shouted. We must be in a state of perpetual self-examination, questioning where we are lacking in our character, repenting of it, and beseeching Yahweh to fill those holes with the fruits of His character. His love and peace and joy. His patience and kindness, goodness and faithfulness. His gentleness.  And certainly His self-control.

Yet if instead, we choose a path of arrogance and pride, of always boasting our opinions, of always shouting why we are right, scripture is clear in its warning.

Pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom. ~ Proverbs 11:2

Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to Yahweh; hand to hand: he goes not unpunished. ~ Proverbs 16:5

Before destruction comes pride, and before a fall a haughty spirit! ~ Proverbs 16:18

Have you seen a man wise in his own eyes? There is more expectancy for a fool than
for him. ~ Proverbs 26:12 And Paul reminds us later in Romans 12:26 when he says, “Do not be proud in mind, but go along with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.”

One often reproved, hardening his neck, is suddenly broken, and there is no healing. ~ Proverbs 29:1

Possibly, we ought to heed the warnings.

No one has ever made himself great by showing how small someone else is.

~ Irvin Himmel

Oct
12

Cain’s Sacrifice

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Now Abel was a keeper of the sheep, but Cain was the tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the first born of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry and his countenance fell.

So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”nkjv 4:2b-7

What do my sacrifices and offerings mean to God?

Not much if I have not taken the time to listen to what He requires and sometimes God requires things from me that I would never offer. For too long, I was Cain offering what pleased me instead of asking God what pleased Him.  I used my bestowed gifts and talents in an attempt to prove to God I was worthy enough a thousand different screwed up ways.  Too long it has taken me to learn, I am not worthy to do Kingdom work until I have humbled myself and asked God to lead me.

The Fruits of the Spirit are a foundation to build obedience through self-control.

When I aspire to live in love, with joy, peacefully with others, showing patience, exhibiting kindness, goodness and gentleness, faithfully serving, they transform my spirit through conscience choices made to follow God instead of letting sin rule over me.  If I do not master self-control, I can never fully live the first eight.  How can I love without hate if there is no self-control over anger? How will I have patience if kindness and gentleness are not practiced? How can I fully experience joy if I do not retain God’s peace?

If time is taken to observe, it will certainly be found that most live this scripture, no matter their beliefs and whether it is realized or not.  Even the atheist who would rather spit in God’s face than acknowledge or kneel before Him, often practices kindness, experiences joy, loves other because God created us and these elements are not only essential to being like Jesus, but are an innate part of our human structure. When we waste time on emotions such as anger, hate, rumors, fear and doubt, we distance ourselves from God by allowing our sin to flourish.  If  sin is ruling over us, then we cannot hear God.

It is crucial I have a daily fasting from the din of the world because it brings me into the Light of the World’s presence.  Like a beacon, Jesus awaits my arrival each day.  This is where I learn to discern God’s voice from my own.  This is my time of gathering strength for the day.  This is my daily portion and like the manna that fell from the sky at the Israelites feet, it sufficiently binds my day as God’s own.

It is not what I do for God of my own volition, but how I present myself to Him in obedience with an attitude that His will is done and not my own.  In accompaniment, humility is appropriate; without humility, I cannot rule over my own desire to put myself – my ideas and wants – ahead of what God is requiring. He asks me to love Him with all of my heart. And if I am showing up with my heart full of love and my spirit willing to hear and have humbled myself, then I am a blank canvas with which God can work. If I continually act as Cain, then my canvas is a scribble of human error and divine correction.  I desire to have a portion of my canvas left, that is blank and untouched by me, where God can create beauty.

Do I greet Him with eagerness?  With anticipation of what He might ask of me? Or do I show up last minute with my foot tapping, saying, “make it quick – I gotta wash the dishes,” or immediately whining a protest of, “really – can you not see how much I already need to do.”  Now I know, there is nothing more important than meeting with God and allowing Him to disrupt my plan with His will.

I serve a God of adventure.  It is just how He works. I believe there is a reason God likes to surprise me.  He knows what He created me to be.  I know that God can redeem any mess I create and use it for good. I give Him plenty to work with.  I am His problem child. I want to do things my own way and like Cain, I sacrifice the fullness of joy in God’s gifts.

Now look at your life.

How many things did you try to talk God out of that turned out to be perfect at the end? How many situations did you try to manipulate because you did not trust God with the outcome?  How did that work out for you? This is one instance I can use the word never and it be true:  it has NEVER worked out for me.  It wastes my time.  I have to do everything twice.  First, my own screwed up way while God patiently waits on me. Then His way with Him saying, “I tried to tell you, but you had to do the dishes, remember? Let’s do this different next time.”

Lately, something in me is changing that those around me can not understand.

Lately, boundaries are easier to hold because they are boundaries encouraged by God.

Lately, God is strengthening me because I am showing up and sitting still and quietly listening.

He makes everything clear: I only have to serve Him and no one or anything else. This is truth the world denies us.

An urgency lurks within me to greet Him with Samuel’s response, “Speak, for your servant hears.”  To be ready with Isaiah’s words upon my lips, “Here I am. Send me.”  And to possess Abraham’s faithful obedience believing all along  God’s providence will be perfect.

I have already been chosen by God.

Now is the time to ask, “Lord, how may I serve you?”

Jul
26

The Sowing of Holy and Eternal Gifts

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A friend gave me a card and on the envelope was written, “Respond to God’s Artistry”. I stashed the envelope in my journal. Long forgotten, one rainy afternoon it slipped from between fluttering pages and drifted into my lap; a gift of permission in my present chaos to meander my thoughts as God presented them to me.

So in an empty house shining with finite and rare quiet moments, I sat in stillness waiting on God.

And I began to ponder what might God’s Artistry be? Wondered how I might respond. God, being faithful and true, honored my stillness and silence with a response: the depth of our discipleship determines our ability to follow God’s will; and we are unique only because God is infinitely unique and we respond to Him with our own distinct and extraordinary spirits. And I now have this theory that our creative response to God is what places us in this unique position to respond appropriately.

As women, we have been gifted a special place of influence and we are called to nurture an environment of love. And just how do we begin to do this, to influence and nurture love?

We show up to meet with God. We linger in Christ’s presence every opportunity we are given. This is why: it is only when we leave the worldly part of ourselves and step into the stillness of God’s presence as a child filled with curiosity that true intimacy with God begins. In turn, He will answer our whys with beautiful, unique blessings.

If we want God to bless us, it is imperative we show up to receive what He gifts. No matter their form, God’s gifts are always born out of love and we must be present in every moment to capture it. Showing up is not always easy especially when you are facing difficulty, tragedy or uncertain circumstances. Sometimes it seems God is not hearing one prayer you pray, not seeing one tear you cry. Sometimes, it might even seem that He has given up on you. In these heart-breaking times is when we must show up. These are the very times we must be bold to harness the power, the strength and the courage of Christ. This is when we must prepare to meet God each day. Even if we do not feel worthy enough or strong enough, we must show up and face Him. This is where we learn our worth to the Father. It is where we soak up strength and courage from the Son. This is where the Holy Spirit begins to stir the complacency in our lives to spur growth.


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

I want to bear fruit in every thought I think, in every word I communicate, and in every deed I commit to fulfill. And because against such there is no law, no one can tell me to not be loving, joyous, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, and gentle or to not exhibit self-control. Such a command would be absurd and surely I would not take it seriously. But what influence would we be able to have among those with whom we interact if we held ourselves accountable to a standard based upon this verse?

These are just the thoughts of an afternoon spent in the silence of tapping raindrops, but they encouraged me to work towards the most perfect state of grace I could muster in this sin-filled world. The only way I know to cultivate and harvest the fruits of the Spirit are by sowing them. When harvesting from the Holy Spirit’s infinite garden, we become transformed and by sowing those seeds with grace, we are able to positively change any circumstance for the better. I know at times I have refused to show grace, my patience has been fleeting, my love conditional, my joy too often replaced by anger, and in those times, the peace God so freely gave to me, could not reign in my life. And the love He gave me to share? Too often it was as depleted as a dried up well because I was so needy for God.

I know God is faithful and gentle and good, and I should be too, but I was committed to striving and striving is wasted energy; to recycle striving into stillness, prayer and obedience is not a waste, it is spiritual growth that leads us into maturity.

If we closely guard our spirits and allow the Holy Spirit a place to thrive in our lives, then we place ourselves in the most advantageous position to live the exceptional existence God desires for us. Obedience becomes innate to our spirit and as Jesus slowly perfects us, He enables us to positively influence others within God’s will and break the bonds of sin that seek to destroy our lives and the lives of those around us.

Feb
15

The Monster Called Arrogance

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. ~ Proverbs 18:2 Rarely a day goes by that I do not see it – a calling out of someone publicly. The topics vary, yet the reasons remain unwavering: the need to be right and be praised for it. Unknown fingers fly across keyboards, faces hidden, motives clear: humiliate whoever disagrees with your stance. What ought to be a...
Oct
12

Cain’s Sacrifice

Now Abel was a keeper of the sheep, but Cain was the tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the first born of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry and his countenance fell. So the Lord...
Jul
26

The Sowing of Holy and Eternal Gifts

  A friend gave me a card and on the envelope was written, “Respond to God’s Artistry”. I stashed the envelope in my journal. Long forgotten, one rainy afternoon it slipped from between fluttering pages and drifted into my lap; a gift of permission in my present chaos to meander my thoughts as God presented them to me. So in an empty house shining with finite and rare quiet moments, I sat in...

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