Faithfulness

His love endures

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Agape love, endure forever, faithful, faithfulness
Crown of thorns, love

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:5

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath in Devotional, 0 comments

Magnify Proverbs 3

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The internet is full of quick resources and self-help advice amidst times of calm and times of crisis. You can find help on literally anything on-the-go anytime, anywhere. But how much of it is true and actually helpful and how much of it is is just click-bait and sensationalism. Thankfully, we have a book that has stood the test of time. King Solomon, the wisest man to have ever lived (excluding Jesus fully-man of course). Solomon, Son of David, when asked by God he can have anything he wants, Solomon responded  “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:10). It is through this godly wisdom that we have the book of Proverbs today! Today we focus on Proverbs 3.

Amazing!

Let’s journey through Proverbs!

Take a journey with me through this book of practical Proverbs.

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Teamwork

Proverbs 3

Wisdom Bestows Well-Being

My son, do not forget my teaching,
    but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
    and bring you peace and prosperity.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
    in the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
    and nourishment to your bones.

Honor the Lord with your wealth,
    with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
    and your vats will brim over with new wine.

11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    as a father the son he delights in.

13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
    those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
    and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
    nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
    and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
    those who hold her fast will be blessed.

19 By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,
    by understanding he set the heavens in place;
20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
    and the clouds let drop the dew.

21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
    preserve sound judgment and discretion;
22 they will be life for you,
    an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
    and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
    when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
    or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the Lord will be at your side
    and will keep your foot from being snared.

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
    when it is in your power to act.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
    “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
    when you already have it with you.
29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
    who lives trustfully near you.
30 Do not accuse anyone for no reason—
    when they have done you no harm.

31 Do not envy the violent
    or choose any of their ways.

32 For the Lord detests the perverse
    but takes the upright into his confidence.
33 The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
    but he blesses the home of the righteous.
34 He mocks proud mockers
    but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
35 The wise inherit honor,
    but fools get only shame.

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It’s always easier to get things done in teams.

Also, there are people who are fiercely independent who hate teamwork, mainly because they end up taking on the majority of the work. And when you’re on a team that’s balanced and healthy, there’s nothing like it. You may have one superstar, but even then everyone is working together to help each other give their best gifts.

Wisdom does not work alone. Wisdom works in a team.

Proverbs 3 starts out by introducing us to three teammates to wisdom – love, faithfulness, and trust. Why does wisdom need help?

Love – wisdom without love isn’t helpful. It’s a lot of instruction without the compassion, the relationship, and even the mild sense of interest in another person or persons that make it really sing. Wisdom without love is like having a set of instructions to put together furniture, but lacking the pieces of the furniture itself.

Moreover, love gives wisdom a playground in which to play – because honestly if we have no love for God, why would we listen to His wisdom?

If we don’t have love for other people, why would we make selflessly wise decisions that benefit someone else first and foremost?

Faithfulness – wisdom is a marathon, not a sprint. Wisdom isn’t going to get us a reality show or make a huge splash in the news. Wisdom is that quiet plugging along, doing the right thing by God’s design, and in small ways, we change the world.

Besides, It’s a project we have to stick to, however. Equally important, wisdom can be frustrating if we expect immediate results, so we have to get ready for the long haul.

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Trust – without trust, wisdom has no muscle. If we don’t have at least a growing trust in God, it’s going to be very difficult to invest the energy and risk it requires to follow His teaching.

Besides, God’s wisdom is infinite, consequently that means our finite human minds can only comprehend snippets of His wisdom when He decides we need it.

Proverbs says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

The idea is that God’s wisdom and understanding will clear out the brush, and run a tractor over the ground and flatten everything. He’ll pave a road, paint lines on it, and mark it out.

Further, we must trust it takes trust for us to get on that road and drive.

What do you need to pair wisdom with today? Love? Faithfulness? Trust? Keep these in mind as you think about the guidance in Proverbs 3.

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath in Devotional, 0 comments

Holy Spirit Fruit

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22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
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The Greek word for fruit is καρπός, (or figuratively) everything done in true partnership with Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is used to describe to us the produce or product of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in each of us. We cannot produce this fruit ourselves, only the Holy Spirit can produce this fruit. As we grow, in the Spirit, all the characteristics of Christ will be evident in our lives.

Just as actual fruit takes time to grow, the fruit of the Spirit also takes time to grow in our lives. We must constantly work to rid our lives of the “weeds” of our old sinful natures that choke us out the work of the Spirit. 

13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13. The Holy Spirit gives us the power we need to reject those old sinful desires. We can say “no” to sin and accept the “way out” God faithfully provides by following the Holy Spirit’s leading.  

As we give the Spirit more control of our lives, He begins to do in and through us what only He can do – to shape us and grow us to be more Christ-like (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).

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What are the fruits of the Spirit?

Love

Biblical love is a choice, not a feeling. It expresses itself in loving ways and always seeks the welfare of others. Biblical love is dependent on the giver’s character, not emotion. For instance, a mature believer demonstrating love will not exercise his or her freedom if that action might harm another Christian in some way. Love chooses to set aside one’s own preferences, desires, and sometimes even needs to put the other person first.

Joy

Sometimes we Christians tend to downplay the meaning of joy. It is a feeling of gladness based on our circumstances. Sadly, the world’s joy cannot last because it is based on physical circumstances. But the joy of the Lord is established in our spiritual, eternal circumstances. As we cling to Jesus, abiding our relationship with Him, we experience the fullness of joy.

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Peace

The world doesn’t offer much peace. Just look around. The world cannot give it because the world doesn’t know the One who is peace. But for those who have the Spirit of peace within us, the peace of Christ is possible, no matter our circumstances. We must reject the chaos of the world and embrace God’s peace.

Patience

We don’t see much patience in the world today, not even in the church. Maybe part of the reason is our fast-paced, want-it-now culture. But Christians have everything we need to be patient because we have the Holy Spirit living in us longing to display His character to those around us. Patient people put up with circumstances and other people, even when severely tried. Patient people display endurance, long-suffering, and perseverance.

Goodness

Goodness presents the picture of one who not only possesses moral goodness and integrity, but also generously expresses it in the way they act toward others. This “goodness in action” reflects God’s kindness and goodness toward us.

Faithfulness

To be faithful is to be reliable or trustworthy. For the Christian, this is faithfulness specifically to the Saviour who redeemed us. Christian faithfulness therefore, is continued and consistent submission and obedience to the same Spirit who provides the ability for us to be faithful.

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Gentleness

Closely linked to humility, gentleness is grace of the soul. It is not weakness, but instead it is strength under control. Gentleness, being the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest, is a key ingredient in unity and peace within the body of Christ.

Self-control

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath in The Holy Trinity, 1 comment