Category Archives: Introduction

Framework for the Fruit-Intro Day 3

Framework For the Fruit

So I’ve introduced the topic of the fruit of the Spirit and explained my view on who gets the fruit.  Today, I plan to outline the framework for how I have worked on my own fruit cultivation in past years and how I will tweak it here and moving forward.

As I shared before, it works out that you can have 40 days of concentration on each of the nine fruits and be left with 5 days.  I have now used 3 of the spare days for explanation.  Tomorrow we will start on the first fruit-love.

Forty Days of Focus on Individual Fruit of the Spirit

I typically take the 40 days of concentration on the fruit and divide the time into 5 eight day segments.  During each of the five segments, I select a focus verse on the particular fruit to meditate on, keep in front of my eyes and hopefully memorize during the 8 days.  I find that as I have gotten older, memorization is harder for me, so often I find the verse being read aloud on an audio and repeat it as I am working, driving or resting.  I copy the verse out longhand on several 3×5 cards and leave them in different places-on my desk, on my dashboard (where they are often needed since I tend to fail in my efforts to love other drivers).  Imagine if you memorize a verse every 8 days for 360 days, you will know 45 scriptures at the end!  Nothing is more profitable to your mind than having it packed with scripture.  

I will try and include for each verse a corresponding hymn to help reinforce the concept.  I will also try and post a daily meditation or devotion to aid us as well as an action item and reflective questions for you to think about in the silence of your soul.

Resources to Help You Cultivate the Fruit of the Spirit

I’d also like to call your attention to some resources that may help you along the way.

For scripture memorization, you cannot beat Fighter Verses. There is a great application you can download to your phone and memorize scripture while you wait at the doctor’s office, have coffee or have a spare minute anywhere.  One thing I really appreciate about the resource is that most verses have a musical version attached to them. They have some CD’s of sung scripture that I have gotten and played in the car with my almost 5 year-old and she loves it.  (Her favorite scripture is Acts 5:29 “We must Obey God, rather than men.”  Go figure!)  Some songs have more musical quality than others, but the tunes are all catchy enough that you remember them.  And they are better for your sanity than Barney the Dinosaur songs.

There are many online bibles out on the web, but this one is the best in my estimation.  You can read scripture in numerous versions and it’s easy to navigate and search.  For purposes of this exercise I’ll be quoting from the NIV (New International Version) because it is easier to understand and memorize.  In my personal study, I like the King James because I happen to enjoy the “thees” and “thous.”

For hymns, the cyber hymnal has been around since 1996 and I don’t think the site has changed much since then.  They still use midi files, but they have a vast database and in-depth information about the hymns and their wirters.

Get Ready For the Fruit of the Spirit to Ripen in Your Life

Here are some scriptures to think about as you prepare to start the journey:

He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.-Psalm 1:3

You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.Psalms 128:2

My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. Proverbs 8:19

Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.Luke 6:44

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

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess his name. Hebrew 13:15

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

The Fruit of the Spirit Will Manifest in Your Life if You Are Faithful

I want to remind everyone that if you are in Christ you already have the fruit of the spirit in you!  But like anything else, what is planted must be watered, nourished and exposed to light in order to flourish.  If you are from another faith, please be welcomed and feel free to comment and ask questions as long as they are respectful.

Let this be a place of refuge as we work together this year.

All the best in 2013,

Julie

 

Uniqueness of the Fruit of the Spirit-Intro Day 2.

The Fruit of the Spirit Aren’t for Everyone

As I alluded to yesterday the fruit of the spirit do not exist in every human being.

Of course most human beings have within them the capacity to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, gentle and self-controlled.   Some humans are more inclined to these traits than others.  Many people are just naturally joyful or possess unique abilities to exercise self-control.  The character qualities that look like “fruit” are present in people everywhere.  But the “fruit of the spirit” are only present in Christians.

Where is my authority for that statement?

I find the authority in the bible in Galatians 5:24-25 and elsewhere.

The passage says:

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

The Spirit here does not refer to the “spirit” present in all human beings, nor does it refer to the “spirit” that pervades much new-age teaching.  Instead it is a Spirit with a capital “S.”  The Holy Spirit resides in those who identify with Christ.   The Holy Spirit is part of the trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).  Three-in-one.  All-in-one.  The Holy Spirit does many things, including:

 

1. Indwelling believers. John 14:17 
2. Teaching. John 14:26
 
3. Bearing witness. John 15:26
 
4. Convicting of sin. John 16:8
 
5. Guiding, speaking and declaring. John 16:3-15
 
6. Inspiring the Scriptures and illuminating them. Acts 1:16, II Peter 1:21
 
7. Calling ministers. Acts 13:2
 
8. Sending workers. Acts 13:4
 
9. Forbidding certain actions. Acts. 16:6-7
 
10. Interceding for us. Romans 8:26
 
11. Giving gifts to believers in the context of the church. I Cor. 12:18, 27-28

So to receive the Holy Spirit is to receive Christ.

I believe that the receipt of the Holy Spirit is immediate upon receiving Christ as Savior.

Many believe differently on this issue.  Volumes have been written on this subject if you wish to study further.

Again, it is not my mission in this blog to convince you my interpretation is correct or to delve deeply into the concept of the trinity or even of salvation through Christ.

My mission in this blog is to explore and cultivate the fruit that all Christians have planted inside of them.

I had a great deal of hesitation in even starting this work because people tend to react so strongly on these matters and the issues cause strife, division and argument.  I do not want this work to cause those issues.  There are enough sources for strife, division and argument without adding to them.

However, I felt it was wrong to lead people to believe that every human being has the “fruit of the spirit.”  In this way, the fruit are not “inclusive” of all and anything that is not “inclusive” of all tends to cause anger and conflict in today’s world.

A parallel is this- in Romans 8:28 it says, “all things work together for good.”  We hear this verse quoted often when bad things happen, such as national tragedy, funeral services and other individual heartaches.  However, the verse goes on to say: “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

This is another non-inclusive statement.  It means that if you don’t love God and are not seeking His purpose in your life,  you have no guarantee that all things are working for good in your life.

To sum up, think of a family with homes, businesses, estates and wealth.  Think perhaps of England’s Royal family.  They have rights and privileges based upon their birthright that you and I do not have.  Likewise, the bible teaches that Christians have benefits that others do not.

I hope and pray you have received this post in the spirit in which it was intended-to lay the foundation for the exploration of the fruits and to lay my particular beliefs on the table.  If you are not a Christian, I hope you will still follow, participate and learn with an open mind.  I honestly believe that if you do, you may notice that your life improves by reflection on the true meaning and manifestation of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control.

The Reality of Christ Produces the Reality of Fruit of the Spirit

If you are wondering about discovering the reality of Christ, I urge you to click here.

All the best in 2013,

Julie

The Origin of 365FruitfulDays.com Intro Day 1

The Origin of 365FruitfulDays.Com

 Fruit of the Spirit

Many years ago, I was taught a spiritual principle that I had a hard time appropriating and understanding.  That principle is that I have within me to use and give away a limitless supply of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. These are called “fruit of the spirit.”

If you know me you may already be laughing.  I snark, I lament, I lose my temper, I hold grudges, I am rude. (I am going to stop the catalog of failures now but I could continue).

This principle of fruit of the spirit is found in the bible in Galatians 5:22.

I counted and realized there were nine fruits.  If you divide 365 by nine,  you get 40.555.  So even in my mathematically challenged world I realized that I could spend about 40 days per year concentrating on one of the fruits-reading scripture about it, contemplating it, trying to cultivate it and exercising it, at the end of a year I will be better than when I started.

So each year I have marked my calendar in 40 day increments to remind me of those fruits.  I have always thought it would be so gratifying to share this practice with others in the form of a devotional book of some kind.

And guess what?  Time got in the way.  Circumstances got in the way.  Divorce, work, remarriage, caring for a parent with cancer, birth of a child and other transitions were all reasons masking excuses for not doing it.  Another barrier is that I did not feel qualified to do this work.  I lack evidence of all the fruit in my own life.  I am unsatisfied with my own progress.

However, in the last several days I’ve been prompted to move anyway.  The final validation and proof I needed was given to me yesterday at church.  The text was based partially in Psalm 1:3 that tells us that if someone is studying and applying God’s word that person will “bring forth fruit in…season and whatsoever [they] do shall prosper.”  This seems like evidence of a promise.

I also know that if I wait until I have enough time or sufficient spiritual maturity I will never do it.  So I am moving forward in faith.  I bought the domain 365FruitfulDays, have posted this and am committed to writing on this blog daily for one year for two purposes:

  1.  That others may be blessed and grow through this exercise-whether there are 2 others or 2,000,000 others.  Of course I am praying big! I may not have a book at the end of this, but my goal of a book was so many years ago, before the advent of e-books and vibrant blog communities.
  2. That at the end of this year I will have made spiritual progress for myself.  This will benefit my marriage, family, business and church.
  3. That God is glorified.

So tomorrow I will post again to lay a foundation for the exercise.  According to the bible, the fruit of the spirit is not for everyone.  This does not mean that people of all spiritual backgrounds or without spiritual backgrounds cannot benefit or participate.  You may just find the exercise even more difficult. I hope if you fall into that category I have not lost you.  I hope that all of you will come back tomorrow to learn more and follow me in the journey this year.

I hope that if you are reading you will comment and subscribe and tell your friends.

However, this will not be an argumentative blog, nor am I trying to convince you that what I am saying is correct.  There are many evangelistic blogs out there and people who are willing to argue in comments about the authority of the bible, denominations, doctrine, etc.  This is not one of those blogs.

All the best in 2013,

Julie