fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

God is OH SO Good!

God is OH SO Good! by Linda Angeles

I was in my car this morning and the song, “Jesus Bring the Rain” came on. This song and I go back a few years. As I was singing along to the words, I was reminded of the struggles I went through during that time. It was March 2009 and I was holding my granddaughter who was two years and very ill at the time. She had just come home from the hospital after being intubated for five days and for some reason, she wasn’t doing well that morning. I remember being afraid and my anxiety was at it’s peak because I hadn’t been able to work in weeks and was physically drained and tired. This was the worst timing for me, considering all this was happening in the middle of tax season. Not only was I afraid of losing clients, but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to sustain myself financially. I was in tears that morning; in fact, both my granddaughter and I were crying. When this song came on I remember listening to the words as I rocked her in my arms and before long, we were calm and at peace. I knew from that moment everything was going to be okay.

Some may believe that God made my granddaughter sick so that I can learn from the experience and grow in my faith, but I don’t believe that’s true – God doesn’t make or will anyone to be sick. He does, however, use all circumstances and struggles to reach out to us so that we experience Him in every way – His presence, grace, mercy and love.  God is in the business of turning good what the enemy meant for evil.  God did use my circumstances for good; a result of that experience, this blog was inspired. Here we are almost five years later, and Fruitage of the Spirit is a source of encouragement to hundreds of readers (thanks to co-writer, Julie). I also learned to rely on the Lord, making Him my all-sufficient, knowing that He’ll always provide for me. (No, my business didn’t fail and clients didn’t leave.)  I learned how to pray in ways I hadn’t known before; today I share and find joy in interceding on behalf of others.

When I looked back to that season of my life I’ve always seen it as a dark place – one I would never want to experience or go back to again. But now I see it differently; I see that time of my life as a time that God used to accomplish His purpose in my life and in the life of others.  The struggles I overcame will serve as reminders that God will deliver me again and again from all hardship that may come my way. I can list the numerous times that God helped me overcome battles, but none compare to this one. Can you remember a time when God delivered you from despair and how different would your life be had you not gone through it?

October 10, 2013 Posted by | Expressions | 5 Comments

Happy (40 days of) Easter!

jn3_16It is now Easter season for the next 40 days until the Ascension of Jesus. I had always thought Easter ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, but it is in fact just the beginning. Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and how he appeared to his disciples and continued to teach them. His teaching didn’t end at his death, but rather it continued after his resurrection. I often pray for the Holy Spirit to bring the works of the crucifixion, the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus in my life but I always took for granted what this request really means.  The crucifixion (Good Friday) of Jesus redeemed mankind from the fall of Adam, namely the debt was paid and our sins were now forgiven (washed clean). The resurrection of Jesus (Easter) reconciled us to God in which we no longer needed a priest to go before God on our behalf – having a personal relationship with the Father was made possible when Jesus was resurrected. The Ascension of Jesus meant that now we will have the Holy Spirit to help us live and overcome struggles (physical and spiritual) while on earth. We have been given all authority over the enemy and it’s through the Ascension of Jesus that we get this power through the Holy Spirit, otherwise we wouldn’t stand a chance against the forces of darkness.  It was during these next 40 days that Jesus would build the church and instruct his disciples what to do, not only to help build the church but also to overcome the enemy. This is my understanding of the triune meaning of John3:16 – the forgiveness, the redemption and the authority over evil.

April 2, 2013 Posted by | According to Scripture | , , , | 2 Comments

Be Healthy – It Is God’s Will

Its official…2011 has come to a close and the New Year has made its way through. It’s amazing how fast times flies. Last year this time I posted my theme scripture for 2011 (Prov 27:11).  This year, my scripture theme involves a call for action on being physically healthy. The last couple of months I found myself obsessing about my physical health, namely exercise and proper eating, than anything else. My need for exercise and to eat right doesn’t stem from a desire to fit into a pair of skinny jeans, but a desire to be in obedience to God’s command to care for our bodies.  Despite my laziness and not putting forth the effort to care for myself, I know God commands this for a reason – because our body is God’s temple.  “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”  ( 1Corth 6:19, 20) So says my theme scripture for 2012. But so much more than being God’s temple is involved when God commands us to good health; He commands this for our own benefit.

I suffer from chronic back pain. When I exercise regularly, my back pain is alleviated which results in better sleep at night and being productive during the day. I don’t have to tell you how invigorated we feel after a good night’s sleep – it can affect your entire day! When I’ve had restful sleep I’m more focused at work and have more energy to run after my toddler – I think I’m also nicer to people…ha.  Eating right promotes the same results. By “eating right”, this doesn’t mean I’m dieting; it means I’m eating healthy foods and making better choices as to what I put into my body. When I’m conscious of my eating habits, I’m good about my water, fiber and vitamins intake.  When combined with exercise, eating well helps me to attain my fitness goals. The third aspect of proper eating and exercise is the mental and emotional good that comes from a healthy, strong body. I tend to handle stress a whole lot better when I feel healthy. Knowing that I’m doing something that will benefit me for years to come also gives a sense of achievement and satisfaction – all are very positive and uplifting.

When I feel good physically, I feel good mentally and emotionally. Feeling run-down, tired or in constant pain is enough to send anyone hiding under a pillow for the day – believe me, I’ve done that a few times. But when I’m at my best, I’m more involved in the ministries God has called me to do, I’m more attentive to friends and family and I’m sensitive to God’s lead in my life. I can’t hear God when I’m shut down due to not feeling well. It’s one thing not to feel good because of cold symptoms or other temporary ailments, but it’s another to feel “unhealthy” for a prolonged period of time due to carelessness with our health.  I accomplish so much more when I feel (physically and mentally) well.

2011 was a very unhealthy year for me exercise and eating-wise. Every time I started an exercise program I would do well for a week or so and then something would happen in my life that would bring the routine to a complete stop and halt any progress. In addition to the setbacks, I was also concerned with completing everything on my “to-do” list than I was at taking better care of myself. The result of the past choices I’ve made is a fatigued, stressed-out physical body (that’s always in pain). I don’t want this for myself in 2012 and, according to His word, God doesn’t  either; I know He wants me to feel strong and healthy so that I can serve Him better too – this is why we’re commanded to glorify God with our (healthy) bodies. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Rom 12:1)

In scripture, when we’re commanded to do something, God supplies us with the resources to help us be obedient. Many people make diet and exercise their New Year’s resolution, but usually fail. They may start out determined, committed and enthusiastic about their resolution to lose weight, eat healthier or exercise but come out short at the end.  We must keep in mind that since it is God’s will for us to be healthy, He will provide the strength and help we need to see us through it. God’s help is ours for the asking. “Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and you joy will be complete.” (John 16:23-30) Its encouraging to know that we don’t have to do this on our own.

Along with the resolution to reach fitness and health goals, make it your resolution to pray first and you’ll succeed in everything God wills for you. Talk to God about what you would like to achieve with regards to your body and health. Share your goals with a trusted friend who will support you and make you accountable; perhaps you can hire a fitness trainer to help motivate and guide you.  If you cannot afford a gym membership or a personal trainer, your living room floor will do just fine. There are many effective exercise videos available on the market for a low cost; there are countless of exercise books and information on the internet. If you are like me and work full time, have a little one at home to care for and do not have the time for exercise, then pray about it and ask God to “make the time”. Start with 15 minutes and work your way to 30, then 45 and finally 60 minutes each day. Start out with two days a week and work your way to three, then four, etc…

My resolve for 2012 is to be obedient to God’s command to take better care of my body – it is His will for me and for you, too. I wish you a Happy and Healthy 2012!  Blessings, Linda.

January 1, 2012 Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Recognizing God’s Will

Have you ever ran into someone who you recognize, but couldn’t remember their name or who they were? That’s happened to me a couple of times. Being the shy person that I am (yes, I’m shy), I normally wouldn’t say anything until I knew for sure who they were. But to help jolt the memory, I would usually have to clear my mind of everything I was thinking of so I can focus on that person. Sometimes all it really takes is hearing their voice and I can remember everything about them in an instant!

I believe that knowing the will of God is much the same process. When we’re at a loss with our lives, we pray for God to reveal his plan for us but often times don’t see God answering our prayer. Little do we realize that God has already revealed it to us, but we failed to “recognize” it much like we do a long-lost acquaintance.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2. In this verse, we are reminded to “renew our minds” so that we will be able to recognize the will of God for us when He places it in front of us. I don’t believe God plays mind games with us, particularly those seeking to live according to His will – and He wouldn’t hold out on faithful servants who ask in humble prayer. I believe that if God’s word says He imparts wisdom to those who ask, He does. So why don’t we see His will for us when we ask for discernment? Mainly it’s because we don’t recognize it and there may be different reasons why we don’t. For one, we may not agree with His plan for our life, so we choose not to see it and keep asking Him to show us what He already has! Or perhaps our minds are clouded with so many things that are preventing us to see God’s will. In my personal experience, I don’t recognize God’s will when I’m not paying attention. For me, paying attention would require me to be still and wait quietly – only then do I become aware of Him and His will for my life. More than often, God has revealed His plan for me through His word, through a friend, a church sermon and sometimes even through music! Sometimes I can feel God tugging at my heart to notice Him. And even then, I sometimes miss the obvious and find myself on bended knee asking for what He has already revealed. Crazy, isn’t it??

Know this, God has a plan for everyone, including you and me. Jeremiah 29:11, 12 “For I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you.” He is a God of PURPOSE and everything He does is for His Glory. He is a God of divine order and not of confusion. Just look at our universe and how orderly it is! He makes no mistakes in planning out the happenings of each and every day. He orchestrates every aspect of our lives and when you think about it, that’s a very good thing. Personally, I’d rather he plans out my every minute of the day because I’ve been known to make a mess of things!

They say there are two things for sure: death and taxes, but I beg to differ. I say there are three, and the third surety is that God has a plan for everything that is under His creation. So rather than ask the Lord to reveal His will for you, ask Him to help you recognize the will and plan He has already set in place in your life. When He does, obedience must follow your humble request; you must be prepared to be obedient to follow the path He has willed for you; with discernment, He will provide you with the resources to live out His plan for your life. With Him in control, you will never go wrong!

May you continue to abide in God’s Grace, Linda.

(photograph courtesy of Marcene)

October 9, 2011 Posted by | Expressions | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

…by Marcene

The bible as a mirror…reflecting the days gone bye and the days to come.

In the Old Testament we see the reflection of the past mistakes of man…By showing the downfall of man, God is giving us evidence of what will happen . Enabling us to make the right choices.

We see the first reflection of…man’s choice to put his desires before God’s…ending in is not in man to guide his own footsteps. Only through God can we reach heavenly goals.
In our mirror we see the reflection of two entities..
One of the beautiful garden…so at peace…so productive…producing what it was created to produce. All things doing what they were created for and to do..Harmony reining in the Garden.
With one exception:
MAN.. Putting himself before the Lord and Master of all creation. Making the wrong choices.
Going contrary to the very purpose for which he was created. Bringing about death..

New reflection: Man under the yoke of death..Helpless..without hope…. God the Father to the rescue…He came in the human form , Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty of man’s sin..overcoming death, defeating Satan..Redeeming man back to himself.

Last reflection: The Heavenly scene..The believers coming home..dwelling with God. Praising and worshipping the King of Kings and Lord of last fulfilling their purpose, producing what they were created to produce.

In Christian Love, Marcene

June 17, 2011 Posted by | Expressions | 1 Comment

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