Nebraska/Winnebago

Self-Control - Fruit of the Spirit Study (Monday Morning Devotions)

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self-control ἐγκράτεια

[Jesus'] divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. [2nd Peter 1:3-7 ESV]

 These words are from Peter's second letter to those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received faith. Our key word for today is self-control. Our key Bible verse is:

 [T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. [Galatians 5:22–25 (NIV84)]

 Being able to control one's life is often difficult and ultimately impossible, try as we may. Or, as I would rather put it - 'allowing God's Spirit to control one's self' is another one of those gifts from God.

 The Apostle Paul found himself imprisoned in Caesarea and it was there that he would share with the governor Felix the teachings regarding Jesus. Luke writes:

 After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.” [Acts 24:24-25 ESV]

 This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with these words of challenge: [M]ake every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. [2nd Peter 1:5b-9 ESV]

(Need to start at week 1? Read it here)

Gentleness - Fruit of the Spirit Study (Monday Morning Devotions)

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gentleness πραΰτης (2-11)

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with gentleness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:19–21 (ESV)] (meekness)

 These words were written by James in his letter to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations.  Our key word for today is gentleness. Our key Bible verse is:

 [T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. [Galatians 5:22–25 (NIV84)]

 What the world teaches regarding various opinions and how to succeed is to 'WIN' at all costs. The ends justify the means and if you can out YELL or out berate your opponent; or if you can silence those who differ with you - do it! It is acceptable to be rude and crude - an in your face - taunting strategy. This goes directly contrary to God's spiritual gift of gentleness.

 Listen to the advice that the Apostle Paul gives to the young pastor by the name of Timothy: 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. [2 Timothy 2:23–26 (ESV)]

 Jesus has won the victory and those on the side of the devil are already defeated - no matter how good they are at being irate or silencing Christians.

 This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with these words of the apostle Paul: I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, [Ephesians 4:1–2 (ESV)]

(Need to start at week 1? Read it here)

Faithfulness - Fruit of the Spirit Study (Monday Morning Devotions)

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faithfulness πίστις (243)

2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3 It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. [3 John 2–5 (NIV84)]

 These words are found in the Apostle John's 3rd letter, he specifically is writing to a man named Gaius. Our key word for today is faithfulness. Our key Bible verse is:

 [T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. [Galatians 5:22–25 (NIV84)]

 Faith is truly a gift from God. God is the source of faith and the spiritual gift of faithfulness can only originate from God. You and I might do our best to be faithful, however we have often failed. We have often not fulfilled our word and promises.

 Listen to the Apostle Paul once again:

11 The saying is trustworthy, for:

       If we have died with him, we will also live with him;

12    if we endure, we will also reign with him;

       if we deny him, he also will deny us;

13    if we are faithless, he remains faithful [2 Timothy 2:11–13 (ESV)]

 God calls you to remain faithful. To remain faithful one needs the Holy Spirit who not only brings one to faith in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit keeps us in this faith.

 Listen to the words explaining the work of the Holy Spirit: I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.

 This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with these words from the Revelation of Jesus Christ: If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. [Revelation 13:10 (NIV84)]

(Need to start at week 1? Read it here)

Goodness - Fruit of the Spirit Study (Monday Morning Devotions)

goodness ἀγαθωσύνη (1-4)

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. [Ephesians 5:8–10 (NIV84)]

These words are found in the Apostle Paul's letter to those faithful in Christ and living in Ephesus - they include a key word, that key word is goodness.

Our key Bible verse is:

 [T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. [Galatians 5:22–25 (NIV84)]

 You have probably heard of the phrase 'goody-two shoes.' You might have even been referred to being a little miss goody two shoes. Often times such children, such people, are scorned by those who are not so good. Christians often suffer for living upright lives.

 The Apostle Paul writes: We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; 6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, . . . 11 Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, [2 Thessalonians 1:1–11 (NKJV)]

 God's goodness overflows through the life of the Christian. You are a blessing to others in spite of the persecution that comes with being a child of God, a child of light.

 This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words of encouragement to the faithful brothers and sister in Christ of the Apostle Paul: I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. [Romans 15:14 (ESV)]

(Need to start at week 1? Read it here)

Kindness - Fruit of the Spirit Study (Monday Morning Devotions)

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kindness  χρηστότης (1-10)

 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? [Romans 2:1–4]

 These words are found in the Apostle Paul's letter to those in Rome who are loved by God and they include a key word, that key word is kindness.

Our key Bible verse is:

 [T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. [Galatians 5:22–25 (NIV84)]

 Kindness is a gift from God! As noted earlier God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance. In direct contrast to kindness is the righteous wrath of God. Paul went on to write in this letter: Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. [Romans 11:22]

 Kindness is from God and offers you the following Good News: But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. [Titus 3:4–7 (ESV)]

 This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words of Good News of St. Paul, "God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. [Ephesians 2:4–7 (ESV)]

(Need to start at week 1? Read it here)

Patience - Fruit of the Spirit Study (Monday Morning Devotions)

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patience μακροθυμία (1-14)

 I . . . urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. [Ephesians 4:1–3]

 These words are found in the Apostle Paul's letter to those faithful in Ephesus and they include a key word, that key word is patience.

Our key Bible verse is:

[T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. [Galatians 5:22–25 (NIV84)]

 Today patience is in short supply. Who waits to have their needs meet? Who waits until they are married before becoming intimate? Who waits until they are of legal age - to drive or to drink, or to drink and drive? It is not in our DNA to be patient - no it is a gift of God and one of the fruits of the Spirit. Many of you listening are thinking, NO THANKS!

 However, the writer of James gives you and me a reason to have patience. He writes: As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. James 5:10–11 (ESV)

 God knows what is best for you. Paul also wrote: [W]alk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. Colossians 1:10–12 (ESV)

 This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words of Good News from Peter's 2nd letter: But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 2 Peter 3:13–15 (ESV)

(Need to start at week 1? Read it here)

Peace - Fruit of the Spirit Study (Monday Morning Devotions)

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peace εἰρήνη (91)

 

To all those (in Rome) who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. [Romans 1:7 (ESV)]

 These words are found at the beginning of the Apostle Paul's letter to those in Rome and they include a key word, that key word is peace. Our next seven devotions are based on the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Our key Bible verse is: 

Galatians 5:22–25 (NIV84)

[T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

 The word peace occurs 91 times in the New Testament. Jesus is recorded as saying 'peace' twenty of those times. Jesus had just told his disciples that He had come from the Father and that He would be going back to the Father. And the disciples finally, by the work of the Holy Spirit, understood this. Jesus then told them, "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” [John 16:33]

 Jesus the Prince of Peace offers you peace, peace with your Creator. Now how does one come by this peace? It is offered to sinners, that means to you and to me and peace is received as a gift from God.

 Paul wrote: [S]ince we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. [Romans 5:1] One's justification or becoming reconciled or made right with God comes totally and completely through the work of Jesus. It is through the life, suffering, death, rest and resurrection of Jesus that the sin of the world has been paid. Faith in Jesus receives this gift and only faith in Jesus, none other can do.

 This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words of Good News from the book of Hebrews: Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. [Hebrews 13:20–21]

The Power of Prayer - Monday Morning Devotions

The Power of Prayer - Monday Morning Devotions

“If someone wants to describe adequately the usefulness of pious, earnest prayer, he will, in my opinion, surely find a beginning more easily than a conculsion. Pious prayer offered in faith is familiar conversation with God.” (Johann Gerhard)

These opening words are of Johann Gerhard in answering the question: What is prayer? In the following seven, short devotions, we will be reflecting on the various teachings of Gerhard written roughly 400 years ago on the topic of prayer.

Enjoy!
-Pastor Ricky