Walking in the Spirit

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

22 — “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,”

23 — “meekness, temperance: against such there is no law,”

24 — “and they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

25 — “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Galatians 5:22-25 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

In Galatians 5:22-25, Paul tells the church at Galatia, the Spirit works to increase love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance in those who live and walk in the Spirit. Based on this text, Paul tells us it is possible to “live in the Spirit” but not “walk in the Spirit.” Some might differ with this interpretation of these words. However, I would direct your attention to the last part of verse 25. There Paul says, “let us also walk in the Spirit.” Since the first part of the verse notes, “If we live in the Spirit,” Paul is telling us we can “live in the Spirit” and not “walk in the Spirit.” Thus, if we “walk in the Spirit,” others can see a difference in the pre-Christian person we were and the Christian person we are continually becoming.

Let’s look back up to verses 22 and 23. Here, we see, “the fruit of the spirit is: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.” Then in verse 24, Paul says, “”and they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. ” Thus, if we ‘walk in the Spirit,’ we belong to Christ and have ‘crucified’ our “fleshly affections and lusts.” This does not mean we will automatically exhibit the traits associated with walking in the Spirit. It means we must do something to achieve those traits as a part of whom we are becoming. We must crucify the cravings and fruit of the flesh in order that we might “walk in the Spirit.” Looking at verse 16 of Galatians chapter 5, Paul states, “if we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfil the lust of the flesh” — in other words, we will “crucify the flesh.”

16 — “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

17 — “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

Galatians 5:16, 17 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

In verse 17, we read: the flesh and the Spirit engage in behaviors contrary one to the other. Thus, if we belong to Christ, we cannot do the things that we would in the flesh–we will “walk in the Spirit.” As we continue to “walk in the Spirit,” we will see an increase in the “fruit of the Spirit” in our own behavior and a decrease in the affections and lusts of the flesh displayed in our lives.

These verses tell us: belonging to Christ means we will strive to emulate Him in our daily living. The term, “American,” means I am a citizen–a member, if you will–of the United States of America. When we look at the word, “Christian,” in this same light, being a Christian means we are a citizen of–a member, if you will–of the kingdom of Christ, (Acts 11:26). As such, we strive to abide by the laws, guidelines, and statutes set forth by Christ for the New Testament churches of Christ. Paul established churches of Christ among the Gentiles; there were seven churches of Christ in Asia. The other apostles established churches in the area where Christ lived, taught, healed, and preached. Each church was taught, by the apostles, to emulate the life of Christ as they grew in the faith.

“And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

Acts 11:26 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

Thus, as we grow in the faith, we will see our lives increase in: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.” We will begin by “crawling,” as newborn babes in Christ. Then–just as a babe must grow from toddler to young child, older child, pre-teen, teen, young adult, and finally to adulthood–we must grow as Christians. It will be a life-long endeavor if we continue in the faith and hope of an eternal life in heaven with God and Jesus Christ–God’s Son.

1 — “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,”

2 — “as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”

3 — “if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

1 Peter 2:1-3 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

First, we nurture a babe with milk, then with puree of solid foods, and finally he/she is able to digest solid food. In like manner, we must also nurture our Spiritual Self by “laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking.” Then, “as newborn babes [in Christ], desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby [in Christ].” In 1 Peter 2, verses one through three, we see: “if we are able to lay aside these fleshly affections and lusts,” then we “have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

My daily prayer is that I might continue to lay aside my worldly lusts and affections of the flesh and grow in the nurture, the admiration, and the wisdom of the Lord. I ask that God strengthen me in the faith, hope, knowledge, goodness, and graciousness of Christ Jesus that I might live a life pleasing unto Him and ultimately be granted an eternal home in heaven.

May God be with all who endeavor to live for Him through the name of Christ Jesus.

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Source:

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Acts 11:26. “Holy Bible: King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (25 April 2021). Acts 11:26 KJV – And when he had found him, he brought – Bible Gateway.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Galatians 5:16-25. “Holy Bible: King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (25 April 2021). Galatians 5:16-25 KJV – This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, – Bible Gateway.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). 1 Peter 2:1-3. “Holy Bible: King James Version (KJV).” bible gateway.com. (25 April 2021). 1 Peter 2:1-3 KJV – Wherefore laying aside all malice, and – Bible Gateway.

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Photo Above: By Ferhat Deniz Fors @Unsplash.com.

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All Things Work Together . . .

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

Romans 8:24-39

  • 24 — “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope, for why does one still hope for what he sees?”
  • 25 — “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
  • 26 — “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
  • 27 — “Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
  • 28 — “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
  • 29 — “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
  • 30 — “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified, and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
  • 31 — “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
  • 32 — “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
  • 33 — “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.”
  • 34 — “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”
  • 35 — “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
  • 36 — “As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.'”
  • 37 — “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
  • 38 — “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come,”
  • 39 — “nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Source: Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV).

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Notes:

In the eighth chapter, twenty-eighth verse of his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul tells us to keep uppermost in our mind the promise: “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Oftentimes, we tend to become discouraged by all the negatives in our lives, and we might complain there are not enough positives happening. The past year is one of the times this might be more apt to occur. Is this something you struggle with? Are you discouraged by all that has happened to you, your loved ones, your family, and your country during the past year? If so, you are not alone. Many others struggle with the same spiritual ailment. Furthermore, it is not a new trial faced by modern-day Christians. It has been here since the inception of Christ’s life on earth and before.

When we are tempted by Satan or one of his many demonic slaves, we can rest assured that nothing they do can harm our soul–unless we allow it. There is an old saying my Mama often quoted: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” (Anonymous). As many have pointed out, words can and do hurt, often for a lifetime. However, Paul is telling the Romans, “If you are one of those who have been called according to His purpose, Jesus life, death, resurrection, and ascension offers hope for life after death through Him becoming “sin”–all of the world’s sin–and the sacrifice of His life in place of ours. All who hear His calling, obey His commands, and continue in His Light have this “hope,” and those who abide in His Way can be assured of eternal life with Him and God the Father.

When we mess up, if we have heard and obeyed the requirements He sets forth in the New Testament, Christ and the Spirit make intercession for us with God the Father. Christ determines who is abiding Him and who is not. If I abide in His Way unto death, I not only have the hope of that gift, He assures me I will receive that gift, and I will be in heaven after I die. If I know I am abiding in Him, I no longer have to hope for eternal life, I can know I will receive it–I can “see” it.

I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I am a sinner. Because of my sin, I deserve eternal damnation, not eternal life with God and Christ. When I sin, I have the assurance, as God’s child, Christ will make intercession and insure that sin is wiped from my slate IF I repent of that sin and go back to living the way He has instructed. He also has assured me–as Paul states in Romans 8:28–I can know that whatever happens to me in “this life,” it all works together for my good.

Each trial and tribulation we endure–and remain in Him as we endure–works with all other events in my life for my good. If I learn from my mistakes, I can also learn from the mistakes of others. I can ask (pray) for guidance when I do not know what I should do in a specific situation. He will guide me to the answer in some way. I may read the answer in something I come across. I may hear someone talking and “say” the answer even though that person is talking to someone else. I can even “know” His will by the fact that I have no choice as to what I do. Someone or some statute tells me what I “must” do. Even when what I am doing appears to be sin to others, if I learn from it and address it through prayer, He makes intercession for me. If the prophets of old were hindered from attending tabernacle by being cast into a dungeon–or by some other means–it was not held against them when they addressed it through prayer to God.

Again, whatever life throws at us, we can know it will work to our ultimate good if we abide in the way Christ set forth. No one else can do it for me, and no one else can offer me forgiveness for my sin unless that sin involved that person in some way. We can rest in peace with the assurance that everything we experience and endure will work together for our good. This is faith in His promise. He said it–albeit through His apostle–but He said it; so, it is true.

God knew before we were ever birthed on this earth, what our response would be to His calling. He is omnipotent. He was, and is, and always will be. His Son is basically His apology to mankind for not having a plan for “all” to be forgiven and live eternally with Him in heaven.

I, personally, appreciate His sacrifice. What more can one do to let another know he/she loves that person? God’s Son died on the cross for MY SIN– not His sin–MINE! How can I ever justify not abiding in His Way? How can I ever “not” want to spend eternity with God and Jesus Christ?

If you heed Christ’s calling and obey the instructions He set forth, you too can be assured of your home in heaven. So, whatever happens here on earth–know there is a purpose for it in God’s great plan for things. Know, that everything will work together for your good, too–if you heed and abide in His Way!

In the book, Acts of the Apostles, chapter 10, verses one through five tell of Cornelius, an Italian centurion. He and his whole house were good people; they gave alms and prayed for guidance. Their faith and Christ-like actions came to God’s attention. As a result, God maneuvered events in Cornelius’ life so he and his house could know what they must do to be a part of Christ’s church and abide in heaven forever. Thus, Cornelius and his whole house immediately became Christians–in the middle of the night–and they became the first “Gentiles” to be added to Christ’s church.

Prior to this time, God’s plan of salvation had only been available to those of the Jewish nation. If a Gentile wanted to be the recipient of that salvation, he/she had to first become a part of the Jewish nation. Then they could be offered God’s plan. Christ’s birth, death, resurrection, and ascension changed this. He freely “gave” so that we might “freely live.”

So, if a person iis truly searching for answers, as we see in the example of Cornelius and his household, God will guide that person to the answers, or He will guide others to that person to provide those answers. Then, the choice lies with that person. He/She has the choice to obey or to reject Christ’s teachings. So, the choice that person makes determines their eternal destiny.

I pray that all will want to live with God and Christ in heaven throughout eternity. However, His Word tells me this will not be the case. Many will not believe or obey Christ’s teachings. Even so, I continue to pray all will obey Him.

My hope and prayer is that each of you will have a peaceful and blessed day amid all the turmoil in the world about you. Be Blessed and Stay Safe!

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Photo Above: by Jasmin Ne @Unsplash.com.

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My Morning Do . . . “Acceptance of Others”

~~ by tkbrown

10 September 2020 — Acceptance seems to be shunned in this day and time. The “going thing” seems to be disagreement, protests, and persecution. There seems to be a tendency to equate acceptance with agreement. This perception is not reality based. Acceptance does not necessarily mean agreement.

The news today is filled with disagreement. From domestic disputes to world organizations, disagreement seems to be the norm. While some disagreement is a part of everyday life, and while harmful values are never to be condoned, we–as Christians–are to accept the right of others to be different from us and to believe differently from us. During His life here on earth, Jesus encountered many who were different from Him, but He never ridiculed, persecuted, or punished anyone for being on a different path. He did express rage toward the moneychangers and the merchants in the temple because they were defiling His Father’s house. He did not disagree with “what” they were doing. He disagreed with “where” they were engaging that activity (John 2:13-16 — NKJV).

When He met the Samaritan woman at the well, He discussed aspects of her life–apparently in depth–but He never once ridiculed or persecuted her because of who she was. If He had gone off on a tangent, ranting, raving, and destroying her property, would He have made a positive impression upon her? Would He have made a positive impression upon any of her acquaintances whom she brought back to the well to meet Him? Through the entire event, no one fought anyone to get a point across. Jesus impressed the Samaritan woman and her acquaintances with His acceptance of who they were, not with anger and malice toward them. John 4:39 says, “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did.'” (NKJV) Jesus impressed upon her that He did not agree with or condone her way of life, but He never harmed her in any way.

My mother frequently referenced the old saying, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” — Anonymous. She was right! That is what Jesus was impressing upon the multitudes as He delivered the Sermon on the Mount. He said, “‘Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets,'” (Matthew 7:12 — NKJV). During His time here on earth, Jesus had many differences of opinion and fact with others, but He never once addressed the issue in a harmful, ridiculing, or disrespectful manner. His responses were always short, kind, and to the point.

In today’s world, there are many different cultures–much the same as the world was in Jesus’ time. As Christians, what is the best way to lead someone to Christ: By lashing out, ranting, and raving at the difference with which we do not agree, or by quietly discussing the difference in what we believe and what the other person(s) believe? Christianity is a program of attraction, not of repulsion. Violence, ranting, and raving does not attract those who love God. We, as Christians, are instructed never to treat someone differently than we would want to be treated if the situation was reversed (John 2:13-16 — NKJV). We are also instructed to love our enemies. Again, in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “‘But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,'” (Matthew 5:44 — NKJV). The news today is filled with difference being addressed in many ways. The question we, as Christians, hold in our heart is: How would I want someone else to deal with me in this same situation? Food for thought in today’s world.

Have a Blessed Day!

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Scripture References are from the Holy Bible — New King James Version (NKJV).

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My Morning Do . . . “Coffee and Gossip”

~~ by tkbrown

9 September 2020 — Good Morning, I hope you had a Blessed and Peaceful day since our last communication. I was reading a peer blogger’s site this morning and the three words below popped out! So, let’s look at them and see what this is about.

“Coffee and Gossip. . . . “

. . . coffee break
a haiku ~~ by tkbrown

Morning coffee break,
water fountain milieu crowd
gossip and banter.
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“Coffee and Gossip. . . . “ said a blogging peer, and I knew what the topic of “My Morning Do . . . ” must be. I had already debated whether to write about this and was still unsure. After reading the comment, I knew–Yes, this is today’s topic!

In my haiku, I mention the water fountain, but coffee and gossip can be brought together in most any place and in most any time. The effect and the affect are still the same. Medical science has now shown that coffee is good for the health in some persons–so long as you do not partake of more than four cups per day. (Always check with your doctor before you imbibe.) When I was told to increase from one to two cups a day. I rejoiced because there was a time, I drank much more coffee per day than that, but I had been advised to cut it out completely. I did cease consumption for a few years, but eventually added one cup per day back. The gossip part–I tried not to engage; however, I am human and must enter the guilty plea for occasional infraction.

Today, I would like us to think on gossip a bit. I would like to engage your minds a bit with some questions about gossip and you:

  • Do you enjoy the thought of being the subject of someone’s gossip?
    • I once thought long and hard on this question. The answer: No, I do not enjoy the thought of being the subject of someone’s gossip. If they cannot–or will not–say it to me, I believe they should not say it. So, I should not engage in gossip about someone–anyone–else. Jesus said, “‘Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets,'” Matthew 7:12. Personally, I believe gossip is a form of bullying. Gossip is never of the positive nature; thus it is always harmful to someone.
  • Do you ever engage in idle gossip about others?
    • While it is easy to say a particular negative behavior is never engaged, in all likelihood, it is engaged at some point–simply because we are human. We can never get it right one hundred percent of the time. I try extremely hard not to talk about others if I am not talking to that person. It is exceedingly difficult to maintain. I sometimes do not even realize I am gossiping about someone, then I catch myself–and I am so ashamed. I have prayed and asked God to help me not do this. So, I am sure it is He who shows me what I am doing–so I can learn to stop.
  • Do you believe your gossip has ever been harmful to another?
    • For much of my life, I never thought about this. Although I was never one to talk about others intentionally, I did engage this behavior from time to time. I am sad to say on this day: Looking back, my discussions about others–that I do remember–were never of the positive nature; so, yes, they were harmful to others. Regardless of how innocently we engage the behavior, it harms another because gossip is never in the positive or affirmative realm of discussion.
  • Do you know what God says about “gossip”?
    • Gossip is a topic rarely discussed in church settings. I wonder why. As Christians, it should always be foremost in our mind as a behavior to avoid. It is never pleasing to God.
      • Firstly, it does not please God because it is not what we would want others to do regarding us.
      • Secondly, Proverbs 17:9 says, “He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends.” Thus, any repeat of a transgression to another is harmful. I am separating myself from a friend when I do this. In many instances, the friendship will be no more.

I want to leave you with this thought: If you truly want to act as a Christian, ask yourself–“What would Jesus do?”–and ask God to show you how often you talk “about” others rather than “to” them. You might be surprised! I was!

A few other scriptures for your perusal at your own pace:

  • Proverbs 18:18 — “The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body.”
  • Proverbs 18:21 — “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
  • James 1:26 — “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”
All scripture above is from the Holy Bible — New King James Version (NKJV).

I hope all who are reading have a wonderful and blessed day! Be safe!

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