Category Archives: Fruit of the Spirit

Smile Awhile

smile

You’ve probably heard it said that it takes twice as many muscles to frown than it does to smile. That may or may not be true, but one of the muscles used for smiling is called the levator labii superioris. On the other hand, the muscles used to frown include the depressor labii inferioris. Personally, I find it amusing that you use the depressor muscle to frown and that it is an inferior(is) muscle, but that’s just me.

Joy is one of the nine-fold attributes of the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22-23), and smiling is the natural result of joy. If you can not think of any other reason to smile today, let me give you a very big one. You can say, as did the prophet Isaiah:

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. (61:10):

A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give. ~Author Unknown

Angel’d Eggs

deviled egg

Many years ago, when my daughter was still very young, I told her I was going  to make some deviled eggs. She looked at me wide-eyed, and with utmost sincerity, protested at having anything in our home called “deviled.” From that moment on, and for many years to follow, we called them angel’d eggs instead.

Today, while planning next week’s dinner menu, which will include some of those delightful, angel’d appetizers, I couldn’t help but think of a quote from Anne (of Green Gables).¹  She said:

I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I’ve never been able to believe it. I don’t believe a rose would be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.

Although I see her point, in reality a simple name change means nothing.  A rose is just as beautiful, and smells just as sweet, no matter its title. And thistles or skunk cabbages will still be what they are despite whatever name we call them by.

This brings another popular quote to mind, “Sitting in church doesn’t make someone a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes them a car.”

Dear reader, living out your faith is every bit as important as professing it. Whether your true nature is more like that of a rose, or that of an ill-smelling skunk cabbage, you will never be able to fool anyone; at least not for long. And you will certainly never be able to fool God.

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy (I peter 1:13-16).

¹ L.M. Montgomery. Anne of Green Gables.

The Key to Peace

It wasn’t until the toilet was flushing that I realized my car keys had fallen in. Normally, something like that would have really frustrated me, but I managed to laugh at my mishap instead. Then again, I knew that I could call my husband, and he would bring a spare set; which he did.

I hated to inconvenience him after a long day’s work, but at the same time, I was quite thankful to have someone watching out for me –someone to come to my rescue when I need it. Actually, this is not the first time my husband has had to bring me keys –although, flushing them down the toilet was a first.

Later, the LORD brought the following Scripture to my mind, and reminded me of some very important keys: I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:19).

Simply put, God has given kingdom authority to those in His family. Are you in His family? If so, you have been given everything you need to live a victorious life.

True, you may run into some obstacles along the way. You may even encounter circumstances that will overwhelm you to the point you lose sight of the right kingdom key to unlock the answer. When this happens, dear reader, you need only call upon the LORD. He is always watching out for His children and He will always come to your rescue.

Although He may rescue you in a dynamic, miraculous way; chances are He will hand you a spare key instead, and let you go about your business. Why? Like any good parent, your Heavenly Father uses every situation to your advantage –to help you learn and mature. Knowing this, you need never feel frustrated when things don’t go your way. You simply need to trust the LORD –that is the key to peace.

A Little Pick-Me-Up

As my son and I walked through the parking lot, he stooped to pick up a coin. “Cool; it’s a dime,” he said. “If it had been a penny I wouldn’t have bothered, but a dime – now that’s a different story.”

I guess he doesn’t know that a 1943-D bronze cent was recently sold for $1.7 million, or realize that certain other pennies have been sold for as much as $200,000 in recent years. Then again, I have no room to talk. There have been lots of times that I was too tired, lazy or busy to bother picking up a stray penny.

Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t take the same attitude when he decides to pick someone up after they have fallen? If people were coins, Jesus would consider every dull old penny every bit as valuable as a shiny new gold piece. And, He would search for every lost coin. Consider the parable of the woman who lost a silver coin, then searched diligently to find it.

Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin. In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:8-10 NIV).

I believe there is also rejoicing in heaven every time someone stops to help pick someone up who is lost or fallen because that is a reflection of Jesus’ heart. I pray that I never cease to recognize the value in every human life, and that I always avail myself to be the LORD’s arms extended.

After all, everyone could use a little pick-me-up now and then!

One Fainting Robin

If I can stop one Heart from breaking
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Into his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

If we were to summarize Miss Dickinson’s aforementioned thoughts in one word, it would aptly be compassion.  But what does Scripture teach us about compassion?

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering… (Colossians 3:12).

 Interestingly,  Emily Dickinson was not an overtly religious person. In fact, her writings often reflect her feelings of “being shut out of heaven.” Nevertheless, she understood the importance of compassion; possibly because she was shown very little during her reclusive life.

 Emily was, I believe, the fainting robin she wrote about.  If only she could have grasped the truth that God is … full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth (Psalm 86:15) even towards her .  And if only others had shown her more mercy, love and compassion, as we are commanded to do in Scripture; perhaps she might have lived a more joyous life, having never felt shut out of heaven.

Dear reader, there are many Emily’s out there.  Will you be the one to show them God’s unceasing compassion by loving as Jesus loved?  Will you help a “fainting robin” back into the nest, or stop someone’s  heart from breaking? If you  do this for even one person, then your life will not have been lived in vain.

Bumps and Spills


He was a tall man, so I couldn’t see the contents of the cup he was holding.  I assumed it was coffee, but I was wrong.  You see, as quickly as his bouncy sidekick bumped into him, orange juice sloshed all over his expensive white dress shirt. No one would have ever known what was in his cup if he hadn’t been bumped.

That made me think; human beings are all “vessels” (Romans 9:21). However, we do not all contain the same thing.  Sometimes, the best way to know  for sure what is inside a person, is to see what spills out when he or she is bumped.

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things (Matthew 12:34,35).

Dear reader, has someone bumped you lately? And if so, what spilled out? As for me I, like King David, pray:

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14).

How Dumb Are We?

A pastor once instructed his congregation to come forward so he could “pray for their tongue’s foot-by-foot  —honestly. Ouch! I didn’t know any of those folks but I’m sure they would’ve needed some help to hold their tongues.

Come to think of it, I think most of us could use some help in that area; I know I could. Let’s be honest. Sometimes it is hard to keep silent when more and more people are lacking intelligence or good judgment  —which is one definition for the word dumb— and we are the ones to suffer for it.

However, God’s word instructs us that it is often wise to be dumb  —dumb as in not speaking. Proverbs 21:3 says: He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity. So, the question for today is, how dumb are we? I don’t know about you, but I pray that someday I can be the kind of person who always curbs my tongue.

There is reward in that. Those who refrain their tongue from evil, Scripture instructs, will love life and see good days (I Peter 3:10). It really would be dumb of us to let our tongues go loose until the pastor has to pray for it foot-by-foot. Let us instead, obey Scripture and bridle our tongues. Now that would be smart!

Easy CZ Christianity

Bottom line, a diamond’s desirable qualities are summed up in two words: fire and brilliancy.  Fire is the essences of its sparkle; brilliance comes from its ability to refract light.

As temples of the Holy Spirit, Christians  should have both fire and brilliancy.  What would that look like in a human?  Galatians 5:22 sums it up pretty well.  The fruit of the Spirit are these:

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control.

Yet we find an interesting passage of Scripture in Matthew 7:22, 23. Here we read about people who consider themselves to be Christians being denied entrance into God’s kingdom.  Why?  The Lord Jesus tells them “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

I wonder how many people in the church thought these workers of iniquity had fire and brilliance because they were doing the work of the Lord -pretty convincing works at that?  Yet, the Bible indicates that these men and women were not true diamonds -they were Cubic Zirconia.  To the untrained eye, Cubic Zirconia (CZ)  looks like a diamond and many are fooled by it in the same way that pyrite (fool’s gold) deluded the masses during the gold rush.

But Cubic Zirconia is not the real deal and therefore it does not have the value of a real diamond. Any true diamond collector would not only recognize CZ immediately, they would reject it.

My friends, God will not be mocked.  He knows the difference between the authentic and the counterfeit.  I pray that we all take the time to examine our lives, our motives, and our relationships with the Lord God while there is still time, and make any necessary changes so that he can look at our fire and brilliance on judgement day and say “Well done … Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:23, 34).

Of the two gems  pictured above, which is the real diamond and which is the cubic zirconia?  Are you sure?

Smile Awhile

smile

You’ve probably heard it said that it takes twice as many muscles to frown than it does to smile. That may or may not be true, but one of the muscles used for smiling  is called the levator labii superioris. On the other hand, the muscles used to frown include the depressor labii inferioris. Personally,  I find it amusing that you use the depressor muscle to frown and that it is an inferior(is)  muscle, but that’s just me.

Joy is one of the nine-fold attributes of the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22-23), and smiling is the natural result of joy. If you can not think of any other reason to smile today, let me give you a very big one. You can say, as did the prophet Isaiah:

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. (61:10):

A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give. ~Author Unknown