Monday, August 9, 2010

Sermon Series Catch Up!

Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

The sermon on love is already posted, but for the past few weeks, we have had some obstacles that kept us from posting the messages on joy and peace. Here is a summary of what we have studied.

Joy is something only the Spirit can offer. The world tries, but falls short. The world can provide happy moments, but happiness is fleeting. Happiness depends entirely on what is happening around you. It is like cotton candy, sweet but not lasting. As soon as circumstances change, happiness disappears. Joy, however is deep rooted and nourishes the soul. Like a juicy ripe peach, joy is sweet and satisfying. It brings nutrients that add to our spiritual health like that peace delivers vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to boost our physical health.

Joy comes from abiding in Christ's love. John 15 records a conversation Jesus had with his disciples. In that conversation he tells them again and again that god's greatest desire for them is to bear fruit. God is at work in you and me pruning and watering and fertilizing our lives so that we bear fruit. Our job is simply to abide and remain in Christ and his love. As we accept his love for us and walk in love with those around us, we find a joy welling up inside that remains even in difficult times. Don't settle for happiness, but press in toward Christ and experience joy that lasts.

Like Joy develops as we press in close to Christ, abiding in his love, peace comes as we find our hearts' desires in him. Peace grows naturally out of our relationship with God through Christ. Our part in fostering that growth is pulling the weeds of control and apathy. The world seeks peace through control. If we can only make everyone and everything around us do what we want, we think we will have peace. Unfortunately, that can never happen. There will always be something beyond our power. Another worldly way of seeking peace is apathy. If you can't control it, just don't care about it. But keeping ourselves from feeling is not peace, just emptiness. God wants us to have PEACE, not just a cease-fire.

Finding peace in Christ means laying down our worries and accepting his peace!
When we know he is our rock and refuge, when we learn to give him our worries, we find peace growing in our hearts. Even in the middle of conflict we can have peace!

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the LORD always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The LORD is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The peace that Jesus brings to our lives is permanent. When things are beyond our control, we can trust that nothing is beyond his control. We can know that even if everything around us is lost, he is our source of strength and provision. His peace continues with us through all circumstances!

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

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