The Fruit…

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Just a reminder: Hanukkah begins at sundown Monday, December 19th. I will be joining in this festival of lights remembering God’s provision for His people and my beloved Jewish family if you’d care to join me!

Now for what’s on my mind: a person is known by the fruit that is produced by their actions and speech. For December 16th, The Prophet’s Devotional by Jennifer LeClaire is titled: Fruit-Bearing Gifts. Amid this flurry of whatever Christmas and other holiday preparations you are doing, let’s look at Galatians 5:22-23 in the Amplified Bible.

“But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]”

This fruit grows as we abide in Christ, lean into Holy Spirit, and practice walking in these things. Notice, it’s “the work which His presence within accomplishes” and not our fleshly efforts. We all know people with gifts from the Lord that are accurate in using that gift, but the spirit behind it and their conduct do not match these fruits of the Spirit. For a vine to produce fruit it must be watered and tended. We can sow in the Spirit, feeding and watering the seeds Holy Spirit planted within by reading the Word and praying in the Spirit, and reap the fruit that will remain. If we sow in the flesh, starve and dehydrate the vine, any fruit will eventually die due to neglect.

In reality, this looks like an accurate prophet giving an accurate word, then delving into sexual sin, abuse of others… fleshly pursuits… which turns the word he gave into a falsehood. Many of us have been hurt/burned by Pastors, prophets, teachers, and others in authority. Lots of times love is shut out by legalism. Many have fallen away. They’ve turned against church in general, and certain ministers in particular. Lack of integrity and humility come to mind.

The Passion Translation puts the verses of Galatians 5 this way:

“But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.”

I encourage you to meditate on these things in whatever Bible gives you best understanding. The Holy Spirit is the one who plants the seeds of the gifts, but we must water and feed them, starving out the things of the flesh instead of starving the Spirit within. By the way, have you chosen a devotional for the year 2023 yet? With my upcoming trip to Tanzania, book to be published soon, becoming a trustee for our historical society, Pastor asking me to think about becoming a deacon in our church, on top of my other obligations, it will be a year of readjusting. I am leaning toward not working at the motel for the 2023 season. Though I enjoy the work and fellowship there, it is tough scheduling. I am praying for my employer’s need for workers to be met as I pray to the Lord of Harvest to send out more workers for the Harvest of souls! Needless to say, I’m waiting on the Spirit to show me how to do devotions in the new year. As usual, I plan to fast with our church January 1-21st, which is another topic to seek the Lord on how to do this year. My first prompt is to spend the 21 days in the books of 1,2 &3 John.

Noting that not all have a prophetic ministry, though Paul encouraged us all to prophesy and we are all to use our gifts to minister, even if we are not in the ordained ministry of Prophet, I leave you with this prayer from Sister Jennifer LeClaire:

Father, in the name of Jesus, give me a hunger to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit alongside the gifts of the Spirit so my ministry will see lasting influence. Grace me to seek first Your Kingdom and Your righteousness so I can model a Christ-like prophetic ministry.

Glory to God in the highest and on earth good will toward mankind! As I am writing in my Christmas cards I’m sending: May you experience true Shalom peace and prosperity as you journey into 2023.