Saturday, February 16, 2008


Often when we’re trying to teach others what to do and how to act, we use negative language; don’t do this and don’t do that. There are certainly times where that may be exactly what’s needed but I’ve been thinking lately about how to use language that is more positive instead.

Many of the teens that we deal with at The SPRING are in need of hearing something positive in their lives. They need to know that God loves them. They need to know that we love them and that they have potential to succeed in life.

Jesus used positive language in His teaching. People followed Him around so they could have their physical needs met. Jesus met those needs and as a result had opportunity to speak with them about how to live their lives.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.

12“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:3 - 12 (NASB)

Rather than say, don’t act like a jerk to your neighbor, He said, Love your neighbor. Rather than say, don’t hate your enemy, He said, Love your enemy.

My goal in the weeks and months ahead is to “catch myself” when I use negative language and instead find something positive to convey the same thought. This morning I began revising the Rules and Regulations of The SPRING so that they state things in a more positive manner. Rather than “No vulgar language, gestures, or clothing will be allowed” I want to say, “Please use language and gestures that will offend no one.”

Examine your own life this week and see if you couldn’t turn some of those things you state in a negative way into a more positive light.

Could you imagine the different affect that John 3:16 would have had if it said, “You are going to hell if you don’t believe in Jesus” rather than the way John recorded Jesus’ words,

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Think about it!


Thursday, February 14, 2008


We have a little dog named Babe that has been with us for 16 years. He is in the last moments of his life as I write this. It causes you to think about your own mortality and realize that we are all on this earth for such a short time. After all, everyone is going to die some day.

What’s important is that we are prepared for that event. I have seen people who were extremely afraid of dying. They didn’t know what to expect or thought that was simply the end of the line. I’ve known others who were so peaceful about dying because they knew it wouldn’t be long before they would be in heaven with their Savior, Jesus.

Are you ready? Do you know anyone that is not? Maybe you can help them be ready.

The Bible says that death is followed by judgment,

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, Hebrews 9:27 (NASB)

There will be a separation of souls at the second coming of Christ…

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32“All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Matthew 25:31 - 33 (NASB)

The ones on the right have accepted Christ as their Savior and will be in God’s presence forever…

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Matthew 25:34 (NASB)

There will be no second death in Heaven for the followers of Christ…

and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4 (NASB)

But for those who have rejected God’s offer of fellowship, His Son, Jesus, there is another destination commonly referred to as Hell…

“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; Matthew 25:41 (NASB)

That is the second death – separation from God…

“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8 (NASB)

Are you prepared? Death could come at any moment. If you are prepared, help someone else to be ready to face the end of his or her earthly existence. Introduce them to Jesus.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008


What do you think of when you hear the word self-control? For many of us it may mean different things as we each have different things that may need to be brought under control.

Self-control is the final aspect of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. The King James renders it, temperance. The Greek word is Egkrateia, which Strong’s Greek Dictionary says, means, self-control (especially continence):—temperance and Thayer’s Greek Dictionary renders as, self-control (the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites).

The Encarta English Dictionary gives the following definitions for a couple of those words:

Continence (n) Continent (adj): moderate or celibate: restrained, especially abstaining from sexual activity (formal)

Temperance: restraint: self-restraint in the face of temptation or desire

As I was thinking about this aspect of the fruit of the Spirit last fall, I realized that I was not exhibiting self-control in the area of appetite. I had grown quite overweight and realized that, not only was this not very healthy, but it didn’t “display” to the outside world, Christians and non-Christians, that I had any self-control. So I prayed for the Lord’s help and four months later have lost 48 pounds. Obviously physical weight is not the only aspect of self-control but it is a very visible one.

The Lord tells us through Peter in Second Peter 1:2 - 9 (NASB), that He has provided the ability to us to exhibit ALL of the fruit of the Spirit.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

He has given us everything we need but only as we come to know Jesus Christ. We must spend time with Him in prayer and getting to know Him as He is revealed in the Holy Bible.

4For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.

The New Living Translation puts it this way,

Make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, (etc.)

It is great to have faith but we must add to it these other qualities. This will only happen as we study hard, consider our old way and the new way that Christ has laid out for us, making changes in our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. Yielding to Him our old nature and allowing Him to fix our means on His desires for our lives…

8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.

That’s the whole idea of the Fruit of the Spirit, to produce fruit so that others will see Christ, through us, today. Jesus Himself made it clear that was His desire for our lives…

I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me. John 15:5 (CEV)

Is there an area of your life that needs to come under the control of the Holy Spirit? Perhaps the best definition of self-control would be:

Die to self and give the Holy Spirit control of your life!


Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Galatians 5:22 - 23 (NASB) 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Gentleness or meekness (KJV) is the eighth part of the fruit of the Spirit.

The Greek word is praotēs. The definition of this Greek word is: gentleness, mildness, meekness, by implication humble, according to both Thayer’s & Strong’s Greek Dictionaries.

The Encarta Dictionary Online breaks down the English Definitions of these words as follows:

  • gentle – kind, mild
  • mild – gentle, easy-going, and slow to get angry
  • meek – showing mildness or quietness of nature
  • humble – modest in attitude and behavior, respectful toward others

Over the years, our society has, as with many other words, given some negative connotations to some of these ideas. The second definition of meek is, “cowed showing submissiveness and lack of initiative or will.” To “humble” someone else is to put them in their place or humiliate them.

This word occurs only nine times in the New Testament including Galatians 5:23.

What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness? 1 Corinthians 4:21 (NASB)

Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent! 2 Corinthians 10:1 (NASB)

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, Ephesians 4:1 - 2 (NASB)

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; Colossians 3:12 (NASB)

But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11 (NASB)

with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 2 Timothy 2:25 (NASB)

to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. Titus 3:2 (NASB)

Jesus said of the meek (or gentle) in the Sermon on the Mount,

Blessed are the meek (NASB-gentle; NLT-humble),

For they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5 (NKJV)

Since we as Christians are to be Christ-like, the most compelling verses for me are 2 Corinthians 10:1 and 1 Timothy 6:11. This first shows that gentleness was a character trait that Jesus possesses and the latter encourages us to pursue, or seek actively to acquire that trait.

Dear Lord, help me to be gentle with others when I am more prone to be short with them. Keep me from anger and let me be overwhelmed and possessed by your gentle Spirit. Instill in me this day the gentleness of Christ and help me to grow more like Him each and every day. Amen


Monday, February 11, 2008


Everybody has faith in something. Some may have the faith only to believe that if they sit in a chair it won’t break. Others may fly in an airplane, having faith that the engineer that designed it, the maintenance staff that keeps it running and the pilot are all capable of doing do.

That is only faith in humans or human achievement. The faith that explains our existence and provides a purpose for living must be founded on something greater than other humans who live for but a short time on this earth. For many that is a faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ. That is the essence of Christian life and the hope that keeps us going every day.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

Faith is powerful. Even the medical community has had to admit that faith in God, evidenced by prayer to Him has caused patients to get better and sicknesses to disappear. The Bible describes that kind of faith time and time again…

And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. 22“And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Matthew 21:21 - 22 (NASB)

Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” Matthew 9:29 (NLT)

Thayer’s Greek Dictionary includes in its definition of the word faith (Greek: pistis) the following statement:

(Faith usually has) the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it

To me, holy fervour is an indication of others being able to see that faith in action in our lives. Faith requires action.

The author of the book of James in the bible puts it this way,

Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. James 2:17 (NASB)

Faith in God also requires humble obedience

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you. 7“But which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? 8“But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’? 9“He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? 10“So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’” Luke 17:5 - 10 (NASB)

Faith, as with all of the other aspects of the fruit of the Spirit, is from God. As we die to self, and walk with Him our faith grows. Let others see your faith in God. Give Him the glory, the credit for your existence, your successes and your hope for the future.


Sunday, February 10, 2008


Can we be good? In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus was asked a question…

As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. Mark 10:17 - 18 (NASB)

How then can someone expect us to be good? When we read in Galatians 5:22 that “goodness” is a fruit of the Spirit, how can we produce it? The answer is in that last sentence…goodness is a fruit of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit. It is not of us but can be exhibited by us as we yield to the Spirit of God working in our lives.

There is often confusion as to the difference between kindness and goodness as they are both listed as part of the fruit of the Spirit. In the Life Application Bible, there is a chart of the fruit of the Spirit that puts it this way:

“Kindness” is Loves conduct whereas “Goodness” is Love’s character.

Our character can be good if it is the character of the Holy Spirit showing through us. That can only happen when we surrender our wills, our desires and our wishes to God. At the same time, we must accept His will, His desires and His wishes for our lives. The more we walk with Him and yield to Him the more His Spirit will shine through us displaying the goodness of God.