Assurance Of Salvation

Assurance Of Salvation

In this first person struggle, Michael Furlonger shares his inner battle with finding Assurance of Salvation. With eternity in view, Michael could not settle on a few happy words of easy assurances.

In fact, Apostle Peter says to “make every effort to confirm your call and election” (2 Peter 1:3-11). He says that, with that “you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In The Author’s Words:

The biggest fear in my life is what happens afterwards. Believing in Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life, why do I doubt? Because the same person that I put my faith in said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

There are many other people in this world that wonder the same thing: Am I eternally saved? This book is aimed to help people find out more about God, about his love, his justice, and with that, you will find your assurance.

This book is dedicated to my friend who works in prison and to my grandparents who wanted to have assurance that they are eternally saved.

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God, Why Is This Happening To Me?: Making Sense Of Our Suffering

God, Why Is This Happening To Me?

God, Why Is This Happening To Me?
Making Sense Of Our Suffering

Suffering. Nobody likes it, but everyone faces it at one time or another in life. And what really bothers us is why some seem to suffer more than others. The seeming unfairness of it all can perplex even the strongest of Christians.

Atheists love to bring up the issue of evil and suffering in the world as proof that there must not be a God. After all, how could a loving God allow so much suffering and evil to exist? Why doesn’t He do something about it?

In this book, you will learn where suffering comes from, why God allows it, and how God uses it in our lives to help us become more like Him.

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God: The Master of Sin & Satan The Beautiful

God The Master of Sin and Satan the Beautiful

Do you question the status quo of the Christian faith? Why does God get to tell you what is right and wrong? What does He know about it? Have you considered that God is The Master of Sin? And Satan is “The Beautiful”?

God: The Master of Sin and Satan The Beautiful discusses the topic of sin. What are sins and why are they sinful?

Sin, or to sin, means “to miss the mark,” and to sin against God means “to miss the mark” of God. We must understand that God didn’t simply give us a random set of rules to follow, but gave us a way to live.

God: The Master of Sin begins in the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The book continues bringing up what sins are sinful and shares a deeper look into the Law of Moses and redemption found in Jesus Christ.

On the topic of Law, many people misquote Apostle Paul and say, “Well, I’m not under the Law, I’m under grace.” But Jesus Christ himself said, “I did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it” (Matt. 5:17).

This second edition includes additional chapters:

  • There’s More To Say
  • So, Who Is God?
  • Are You Eternally Saved?

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Election Worries

protester holding sign

“He Removes Kings And Establishes Kings” (Daniel 2:21)

No explanation is required for our current post-election situation with one Presidential candidate claiming victory and the other challenging the validity of the votes. Who’s right and who’s wrong? That may seem to be the paramount question, but is it really?

The one and only question is really, who is God going to appoint to be President of the United States?

It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings (Dan 2:21b)

That’s right, up to this point in time, the voice of God, the will of God has not been made manifest.

Many incidents of voter fraud have been reported, such as these listed in an email from Liberty Foundation:
  • Buffalo, NY – A US Postal worker was arrested at the Canadian border with a carload of undelivered ballots.
  • In Texas– A social worker who has been charged with 134 felony counts of election fraud for illegally registering and voting for disabled people in her care without their knowledge or consent.
  • Las Vegas, NV – A trove of completed ballots were found in the trash can of St. Anne’s Church, which had been a polling place a few days before. All but one of the discarded ballots was marked for Trump.
  • Las Vegas, NV – A postal worker was caught on film giving ballots to a journalist instead of election officials.
  • Clark County, NV– An election official has signed an affidavit stating that voters could vote without any identification whatsoever.
  • Traverse City, MI– Undercover videos show postal employees conspiring to commit large-scale voter fraud.
  • Antrim County, MI– A computer “glitch” changed 6,000 Trump votes to Biden votes.
  • Erie, PA- A postal employee has agreed to testify regarding a Postmaster’s scheme to fraudulently backdate the late ballots.
  • Buck County, PA– Videos show ballots thrown in the trash.
  • And these are just a handful of the new, credible and well-documented examples of election fraud that have come in over the last 24 hours… and more keep coming! 

Can enough evidence be collected to force the disqualification of hundreds of thousands of votes?

Why is God allowing such a travesty to occur?

Why does it seem that the cheaters seem to be winning? Maybe they will win, but if they win it will serve God’s overall plan and lead to something greater than the mind of man can conceive.

It is my personal conviction that God is going to do one of two things. First, He may be setting the stage for a display of His majesty and awesome power in such a wonderful way it will make believers gasp at this display when Donald Trump is announced as the winner of the 2020 election. But, there is a second possibility that might hurt for a little while before it leads to the fulfillment of prophecy of old.

A Biden presidency may be the harbinger of the long awaited Rapture when all believers in Jesus Christ are called to be with their Savior forever. Whichever, it’s a win/win event and personally, I’m looking forward to either. More so the Rapture.

Take heart believers, God has it covered and He is large and in charge. Never doubt that fact.

God Bless you!

The following websites reflect much of this writing.

https://libertyaction.org/newsroom/details/20201110not-so-fast-this-is-not-over

Read More From Ron Clark

Exodus/Slavery/Abortion

ancient architecture art cosmos

Exodus, Slavery, And Modern Day Abortion

I know that this topic of The Exodus, Slavery and Abortion is going to get some backlash, but I want to spitfire some thoughts on the matter. Feel free to share your thoughts, but please be respectful

For the past year I have been taking online Christian college courses. Unfortunately, I cannot share the full videos, but I will share small written portions.

I’ve been wanting to share on this for some time, but haven’t been able to. So I’m taking some time to share what I’ve learned and discovered. And some thoughts of my own that I’ve been considering.

The Backstory

The “Exodus” story should be understood at the origins of Genesis 37 of Joseph being sold as a slave into Egypt. As you read Genesis 37, 39, 40 and 41, you read the story of God being with Joseph as a slave, a prisoner, and a dreamer. In Genesis 41, Joseph is lifted out of captivity by Pharaoh himself and raised to lead Egypt through the upcoming years of famine.

In Genesis 42-46, we read of Joseph’s brothers, the ones that sold him into slavery, going to Egypt to get food and grain in the years of famine. Unknowingly, the man who was giving them the food they need, was their brother, Joseph. Once Joseph makes himself known, the brothers go back to get their families and their father, Jacob, to come back to Egypt to live.

“I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” (Gen. 45:4-7)

When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.’…” (Gen. 45:16-18)

Israel In Bondage, God Heard Their Cry: Video

-But someone might say, “Well, yeah. That’s true. But four and a half months a year, the Nile floods and all these fields would have been, at that time at least, under water. So what then?”

Location

-We’re on a hillside here in the Western Desert of Egypt. But it’s not an ordinary hillside. We’re in one of the key places of the Middle and New kingdom of Egyptian history. In front of us, the Nile River Valley, and just across, the modern city of Luxor – or Thebes as the Greeks called it. That was more or less the religious center of Egypt at the time of the Exodus. On this side is where the pharaohs and the queens chose to be buried after the period of those pyramids, which was the kingdom before. 

Now, not everybody got to be a tomb carver and a temple builder. Some had to make bricks. “But come work for me. There’s a lot of work when you’re a pharaoh. So come work for me during those four and a half months.” And that was the Egyptian system. 

So you would say, “Well, where would I live?”

And Pharaoh would say, “Do you want this apartment? It’s got three rooms.” 

To you, it’s fairly small, but by their standards, that’s pretty nice. “Really? What do I get paid?”

Payment

Pay was an upper middle-class amount. Some in currency probably – gold or silver. But mostly in food and other necessities. They were paid in oil and grain and wine and that Egyptian specialty, beer. It was, honestly, by their own description– and nobody ever thinks they’re overpaid obviously– by their own description, it’s a pretty good salary. 

But how much do we have to work? I’ll bet this is long hours.”

“Well,” Pharaoh said, “I’ll tell you what.” 

Honestly, this is the record. “We have a ten-day week here in Egypt. I’ll let you work a ten-day week. You can have a two-day weekend.” At one point in Ramesses III, a three-day weekend. “Eight hours a day will be enough.” 

The Exodus

Above, we see that life was pretty good.

Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.

Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt. “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.” (Ex. 1:6-10)

I shared this time line that I want us to fully understand. Because of Joseph, his family, the Israelites, were welcomed into the land of Egypt. Not only were they welcomed, but they were given the best of the land.

As time goes by, a new king takes the thrown (maybe it was the son of the former Pharaoh, maybe not). The king decides to put slave masters over them (Ex. 1:11) making their lives hard making brinks, mortar and work in the field (Ex. 1:14). He goes on to say to the Hebrew midwives,

“When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. (Ex. 1:16- 17)

And we all know the story of Moses (Ex. 2): He is spared, put in a basket and pushed down the river, picked up by Pharaoh’s daughter and raised as an Egyptian.

Slavery

I believe that we can all agree that slavery is wrong. As much as people only like to focus on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, slavery has been going on for millennia’s, and even today (2020 AD), it’s still going on. Note that if you look at pornography, you’re endorsing a slavery empire.

The point that I want to bring up is that the time of the slavery of the Jews were oddly good. While in the desert, free from captivity, they wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!”…  “Why did we ever leave Egypt?” (Numbers 11:18a,20b). Before you think that they were captive to Moses, they weren’t. Many did leave.

Back to the Exodus story and Moses:

…she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him, Moses… (Ex. 2:10)

One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. (Ex. 2:11-12)

When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian… (Ex. 2: 15)

So, I’m setting the stage of what is going on here: Israelites have been in Egypt as slaves for 400 years (Gen. 15:13; Acts 7:6). After 320 years of slavery, Moses was born: 40 years in Egypt+ 40 years in Midian (Acts 7:23, 30).

People may also say that God encouraged slavery. While a case can be made that God allowed slavery, He spoke against slave trading (Ex. 21:20; 1 Tim.1:10) and continuously reminds the Hebrews that they too were slaves in Egypt.

Frank Turek’s Slavery And The Bible for additional details.

Plagues

For 320 years, there has been this slavery going on in Egypt. But the outcry didn’t come until the slave masters were placed over them and were told to throw every Hebrew boy into the Nile (Ex. 1:22).

Moses, a Hebrew boy, is put in a basket and brought out of the Nile by the Pharaoh’s daughter and is raised as an Egyptian. In Acts 7, we are told that he learned all the wisdom of Egypt. And at the age of 40, he kills an Egyptian slave master and flees to Midian. After 40 years in Midian, where he marries and has 2 sons, he speaks with God through the Burning Bush (Ex. 3), Moses returns to Egypt to bring the Israelites out of slavery (Ex. 4).

And what does God do? He brings plagues.

“I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord…” (Ex. 12:12b)

You see, the Israelites had lived there for over 400 years, working the fields and building bricks for the temple. And you can only imagine that if all you hear about are these other gods, you’ll start believing in them and praying to them.

So every plague that is brought on the Egyptians is to counter their Egyptian gods.

Perhaps, like me, you are wondering, why not just give the Hebrews the land of Egypt? After all, they worked it, it was a good land.

“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices…” (Lev. 18:2-3) 

Child Sacrifice

When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. (Deut. 18:9-11)

Frank Turek’s On Child Sacrifice among other topics

I bring up these verses to gain a much better scope and understanding of Egypt and the slavery that occurred.

Modern Day Abortion

I shared a lot of details about the slavery of the Hebrews and about the sacrifices because a lot of what was going on in Egypt is still going on today.

Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) popularly became the founder of Planned Parenthood. While there is nothing wrong with having a clinic focused on the health and welfare of patients, you want to be cautious when they’re concerned:

More Quotes Can Be Found Here

Michael Furlonger’s Books And Blogs

What is the Fruit of Forbearance?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5: 22-23 (NIV)

We have so much to learn about forbearance from our Heavenly Father. As much as the verse reminds us that there is no law against the fruit of the Spirit (aka practice them), it is really all about the Father. It is his nature of patience and longsuffering that we ought to bear.

A dictionary definition of forbearance is “refraining from the enforcement of something.” Synonyms include patience, longsuffering, tolerance, restraint, and self-control, among others. Depending on your version of the Bible, the verse may read patience or longsuffering, but I have used forbearance because it comes closer to what it means. The Cambridge Bible commentary states it is an “attribute of God, which means patience sustained under injuries and provocation.”

Forbearance, God’s Style

Love Covers Sin

This doesn’t mean that he turns a blind eye to what we have done. God is so holy that his eye cannot even look at sin. What it does mean that God in his divine forbearance passed over former sins until the time of Christ on earth. It means that God in his mercy provided the way out for our sins. Jesus, His Son bore the penalty so we wouldn’t have to. Jesus paid the price. “God demonstrated his love to us, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. God has every right to punish us to the full for our sinful lives, but he has chosen to show mercy and love by sending us his Son to be our substitute. That is forbearance.

Forgiveness

Forbearance is a legal term where a lender refrains from exercising a legal right. It is used often with mortgages and other loans whereby enforced payment of a debt is either delayed or waived. An example of this is found in Matthew 18 when the king wanted his borrowers to pay back what they owed. One servant owed a considerable sum, so large he, his wife and children would have had to be sold into slavery to pay the debt. The servant begged for mercy and the king, “took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.” That is forbearance, forgiveness of a debt.

Desires That None Should Perish

Forbearance doesn’t mean slowness or weakness. But it does mean patience and longsuffering. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God’s love, his mercy, his kindness, his goodness, his forbearance means that he holds back from that final day of judgement so that we might have every opportunity to repent.

How Do We Forbear?

As followers of Christ, we are to “walk in the Light, as he is in the Light”. We are to imitate Christ, to have the nature of our Father. But what does that look like?

To finish the story on the servant who owed much, he was also an unmerciful and unforgiving servant for, even though he had been forgiven much, he did not forgive his fellow servants who owed him little. The king, when he heard the news, threw the unmerciful servant in prison. It was at this point he got what he deserved. We ought not to be like the unforgiving, unmerciful servant.

We are to exhibit mercy, forgiveness, long-suffering, forbearance, looking to our Heavenly Father and to the Lord Jesus Christ to follow their example. Forbearance also includes humility for we recognise our own sins and failures before God so we are not the first to judge and “cast stones” at those who wrong us. A humble person forgives easily. We exercise self-control and turn the other cheek rather than striking back. We love, for “love covers a multitude of sins”.

As I reflect on what is happening around us today, where everyone has rights and demands their rights at the expense of others, forbearance is a word we need to bring back into our vocabulary and use it in our everyday lives. We need to exercise it. We need to forgo some of our rights and take on our responsibilities as trustworthy children of God.

On a personal digression:

In Pakistan, where I live, might is right. That Toyota Hilux on the road has more might and rights than we do in our little Suzuki WagonR (aka cheap & small). We get cut off a lot! When it happens, we have learned to say, “They have rights, we have responsibilities, and our word is bigger than theirs.” Some might call that choosing forbearance as we forgo our rights and let others exercise their power and prestige. Whatever you might call it, it’s laughter and sanity in an insane world.

Do you have a forbearance story to tell?

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Where Peace Eludes

Keeping on the theme of peace, here is one of my poems on peace.

War Eludes Peace
Peace! What catalyst begets its demise?
What besets man and nation where peace dies?
We, proud and selfish; hate brings our discord,
We abhor our neighbours, draw the sword,
We use religion to pit man against others,
We in self-righteous piety have no brothers.
We’re conduits that thwart peaceful creation,
Man, the bullish Gurzil wars to his damnation!
Peace! Where are the peace-loving Mandelas?
Replaced with warlords, the latest Mangalas;
Strive for eternity, zeal outweighs faith,
Empires on heaven and earth; peace we scathe
Forget love one another, carry our brothers,
Envy and selfish ambition, it smothers.
With scowling fervor and blood lusting cries,
Slaughter God’s creation watch as he dies.
We obliterate man made in God’s image,
Heralding the Almighty’s righteous rage.

Peace Answers
Where Peace Eludes
WISDOM calls, “Listen, I speak of noble things,
Peace I bring to you, not as the earth brings.
Come Prince of Peace, a millennium reign,
Unity, reunion with God and man now gain.
Children laughing, playing in quiet streets
Where lamb and lion, in harmony meets,
Where weapons fashioned to plough shares,
Selfish desires gone; each brother now cares.
Fear vanquished, wars relentless onslaught stilled,
Hearts with love for one another now filled.
Come, thou eternal kingly Word Supreme,
Peace, that elusive dream is the King’s regime.
 
Consider the Prince of Peace, evil He stills,
Peace, incomprehensible, He instills.

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The Spirit’s Fruit of Peace

And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another.
This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. (Ecclesiastes 4:4)

The common mantra is peace is found within us. Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.” Peace is a state of being word, but is it something we can actualize within ourselves through meditation, positive thinking, philanthropy, or any other self- produced action or thought we may engage in? What is the source of the fruit of peace and how do we develop it?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5: 22-23

What is Peace?

Peace, we all want it.

There is no peace in some homes. A wife, subject to domestic violence, longs for peace in her home, peace where her husband doesn’t beat her anymore. A child aches for peace where mother and father don’t fight. A mother wishes her toddlers would give her some peace and quiet. Could she just have the house to herself for a day, or go out with girlfriends for coffee? All of us want peace.

Humankind clamours for world peace. We yearn for “peace on earth and goodwill towards men.” The UN is our biggest global peace agency. Organizations and committees are formed to develop peace talks and strategies so hopefully, someday we will have peace. Recently, world leaders brokered a peaceful economic normalization agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, but is that peace?

Peace begins at home, in the heart. The Hebrew word “Shalom” means peace. Derivatives of “Shalom” are “Salaam”, used by Christians in East Asia and “As salaam u-alaikum” used by Muslims throughout the world. Paul started his letters with words of “Grace and Peace”. What did Paul’s greetings of peace mean?

Reconciliation between man and God is the ultimate peace we can have. Without reconciliation with God, there can be no peace. We might have a peaceful world, a peaceful family, a peaceful life, but whether we have peace, or no peace, is determined by the relationship we have with God through Jesus Christ who is the Prince of Peace.

Where Does Peace Come From?

Jesus said, 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. (John 14:27) So, not only is Jesus the real Joy-giver, he is also our Peace-giver. Without the Prince of Peace, there is no peace.  Jesus made peace for us between God and mankind through his blood. “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:19-20)

First, we need to be reconciled to God, then we will have inner peace. That folks is the beginning place for peace.

What Peace Isn’t

Some of us try to work out our salvation through good deeds. We bypass Jesus and believe our good works are going to get us to heaven. I live in a country where this belief is dominate in the religion. And all I see is strife. When we strive for a foot into heaven, we open the door to competitiveness, comparison, to jealousy, to strife, contention, and religious self-righteousness. Better that we simply rest in the finished work of Christ. It puts all men on equal ground, therefore, there is no striving because he completed it for us. In Christ we don’t have to fight anymore because we rest in him for our salvation.

What Does Peace Look Like?

At Peace with Troubles: People who have inner peace because of the finished work of Christ, are not troubled or afraid. That doesn’t mean we don’t have troubles, or we don’t ever worry or are afraid. We are human, but the general direction of our heart is at peace because we trust God for his protection and provisions for now and all eternity. Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the word. (John 16:23)

All Are Respected and Equal: There is no enmity since Jesus “has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” So we don’t have to divide ourselves into male vs. female, blacks vs. whites, Catholics vs. Protestants, etc. We are all equal in Christ Jesus. That doesn’t say we don’t recognize difference, but those differences do not divide us. We are united in Christ.

Live Peacefully With All Men: Because we have inner peace, we “love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us and pray for those who mistreat us” (Luke 6: 27-28). We stand as peacemakers, seeking justice for those who are oppressed, downtrodden and rejected in society.

Inner peace doesn’t say that wars will end, in fact they will increase as we near the end of the age. But we can remain calm amid the storm. That is the peace that passes all understanding, a peace that the world doesn’t have.

What does peace look to you?

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The Fruit of Joy

“I have drunken deep of joy,
And I will taste no other wine tonight.”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley

What is joy? One definition says it is “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness”, and that may be true, but perhaps this definition more closely defines happiness. Happiness and joy are both feelings and are often confused for each other. But they are two quite different feelings. To define joy and happiness, it is best to look at what causes them. Happiness is the result of externals, circumstances, events, people, places, and things. These things make us happy. But what causes joy? The source of joy is also external, but it resides deep within us. When we have joy, it springs from the core of our being, our soul.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

What is the Source of Joy?

Theopedia states joy is “a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment and confidence and hope.” This sounds more like a spiritual quality rather than something we acquire from external entities or situations. It also sounds like it is long-lasting if not eternal. It is not a happy marriage, the birth of a child, a good job – those things make us happy, not necessarily joyful. There are people who have all these things and have no joy.

So where does joy come from? Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener…No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

The source of joy is rooted in the vine. Joy is abiding in the vine. When we are rooted to the vine, we are confident that life will be fine regardless of circumstances. We can even have joy amid struggles and troubles because we know that God is in control, everything about our lives is derived from the vine. Jesus is the “the real joy-giver”.

How Do I Get Joy?

How do we get to know someone? We spend time with them, talk to them. Communication is so important in building relationships, getting to know the other person. So, if joy comes from knowing Jesus who is the joy-giver, then we need to spend time getting to know him. That means reading the Bible, pouring over the Gospels. It means praying to the Father and it means meditating, spending quiet times with God.

Joy comes from a right relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ. It is Jesus that gives us the right to be called children of God. Joy comes from believing that Jesus came to this earth to live and die and rise again for the forgiveness of sins. If we confess our sins, he is faithful to forgive us and that is what makes for a close relationship with the Father and living in joy.

What Does the Fruit of Joy Look Like?

Love is an action word. I can say I love you, but I can’t say I joy you. Joy is a state of being. It is something we have or don’t have. But joy has its expression in how we live our lives before God and before men.

Rick Warren described joy thus, “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright and the determined choice to praise God in ever situation.”

Have you ever met one of these joyful people? This is that someone who can look into the face of adversity and say, “I know God is in control and whatever happens, he cares for me.” That’s what joy looks like.

The joyful person isn’t always happy, they might even have moments of despair and depression. David certainly had his moments, but he often rebounded from the depths with an “I praise God” ending to his Psalm.

Joy finds its expression in love – to live for others rather than self. Joy says, “I will do my best under ever circumstance.” Joy gives occasion for generosity.

Joy can look like thankfulness, confidence, assurance, generosity, love for others and doing the best we know how.

How does the Fruit of Joy look to you?

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The Fruit of Love by Helen Khan

man and woman pose on a cross monument

The love I want to talk about today isn’t the 1955 film Love is a Many Splendored Thing kind, although it is needed in every relationship. And pure love is certainly multi-splendored. Jesus said that we will know a tree by its fruit. But to pull this analogy further, a tree can only produce a certain kind of fruit. The fruit doesn’t determine the tree, but the tree determines the fruit it bears.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

If that be true, the tree determines the fruit, what tree produces love?

Love is From God

We cannot love outside of God’s realm. We can only love because he first loved us. If he hadn’t shown us his love, we would be incapable of love. So for those outside of Christ, true agape love is impossible. Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener…No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

There we have it folks, unless we are rooted in Christ, we cannot bear fruit. We can’t bear the fruit of love. If you are fruitless, then maybe you want to anchor your branches in the vine who is Christ Jesus.

Now, none of us are perfect and we do have our bad days when not much fruit is falling from our branches. And bearing fruit takes time. A small tree (even one anchored in Christ) takes time to mature, blossom and produce fruit. Weak, immature branches cannot bear the weight of heavy fruit. It is the desire to bear fruit for God that is important. I am not saying because I don’t see love in your life today, you are not in Christ. I leave this for your self-examination.

Love, especially agape love is indeed a many splendored thing. There are so many facets to love that flows from God and channels through us. So what does the fruit of love look like?

Love for God

I heard a lady on a Christian program say that the fruit of love was what we directed towards other people. Somehow she missed saying that this fruit is also directed to God, maybe foremostly directed towards him. I believe that you can’t love without loving God first.

To love God is to know him. Without knowing him, how can you love him? To love God is to put him first. He is top priority above all else. We are commanded to love him with all our soul, mind and strength. Of course our love for him is seen in how we love others, but he is first. To love God is to praise him, thank him, fall down and worship him. And to love him is to desire him as the “deer pants for the waters, so our soul pants after him, our souls thirst for Him”, to paraphrase the Psalmist. We will spend time with him in prayer, reading His Word, communing with him. And we will obey him.

Love for Self

Proverbs 19: 8 tells us those who acquire wisdom love themselves. Where does wisdom come from? From God. The Psalmist in Psalm 139: 14 calls us to give thanks to God because we are wonderfully made, and for those who know God’s love, who love God have learned from him that we are beautiful, and our soul is aware of it. There is a love for self that is humble and rooted in God and that love is needed for a believer to bear much fruit.

Why did I put love for self before other loves? I believe that we can’t love others without loving ourselves first. When we are caught up in low-self-esteem and negative thoughts, turning our thoughts inward to the self, it is difficult to bear the fruit of love.

Love for the Church

A love relationship with the Father means we love our siblings, our brothers and sisters in Christ. We might not always agree, we might not always like them, but we are to love them. Constantly throughout scriptures, we are admonished to love one another. This is a direct commandment to love those in the church.

Love for Non-believers

Nor are we to neglect love for outsiders. Some believers withhold their friendship and love for non-believers, but in God’s kingdom there is no place for that. I believe a good summary of how we should treat non-believers is found in Luke 6:35-36, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

So how are we to treat non-believers? With love, do good to them, lend to them, show kindness and mercy. It is okay to be friends with non-believers, just don’t conform to them – be in the world but not part of the world.

How splendid is this love that God calls us to bear! It is multi-splendored. This is the first fruit that is mentioned in Galatians 5: 22-23 and if we bear this fruit, the others will follow. I encourage you to love, first the Father and then yourself and others.

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