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THE EEYORE SYNDROME
In the past I have spoken of what I call, "The Eeyore Syndrome"--these are Christians who walk around acting like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. They choose to look at the gloomy side of life. Their eyes are cast down, their countenance is cheerless, and they have no enthusiasm or anticipation for life.
Joyful people cannot have The Eeyore Syndrome. The Eeyore Syndrome is not a Fruit of the Spirit. The Eeyore Syndrome is not a realistic view of life nor faith-filled.
William Ward writes words about discouragement that can apply to the Eeyore Syndrome. He says, "Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of beauty, unconcern for the needs of our fellowman, and unbelief in the promises of old. It is impatience with time, immaturity of thought, and impoliteness to God."
(SOURCE: William Ward. Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 18. From a sermon by Ken Pell, A Fruit-Full Marriage: Joy-full Love, 6/26/2011)
This question was once asked, "If you could choose what you want most in life, what would you ask for?" The most common answer was "Peace."
People want peace in their marriages, families, workplaces, country and world. Our country has some of the best medical and psychological treatment centers, highest educational institutions and worldwide communication abilities. Yet with all of these things, most people are yet without true inner peace. The results are devastating... broken marriages, split families, hatred, rebellion, financial anxiety, a country unsettled.
The world will offer you peace through many forms of escapism... drugs, alcohol, immoral relationships, constant entertainment. It is sought through all forms of pleasure, self-satisfaction and positive thinking. Many believe that peace is defined as the absence of trouble. They refuse to face the problems in their lives believing that this is finding peace. The world, however, has never held the answer to true peace.
You can choose to have true peace. True peace comes not from man but from God. This peace is the fruit of the Holy Spirit spoken of in Galatians 5: 22.
This peace means to be in harmony with God, to be bound, joined and woven together with God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. It also means to be assured of, confident of and secure in the love and care of God. There is a consciousness and a sure trust that God will provide, guide, strengthen, sustain, encourage, deliver and save completely those who seek Him with all their hearts. This supernatural peace comes first and foremost from receiving Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord. Second, it comes from a knowledge of God's Word.
The Apostle Paul knew this peace. He suffered greatly because of his love for the Lord, love for God's truth and because of his commitment to the commission given to him by Jesus Christ. Yet in all this, his heart was kept in perfect peace.
He had been imprisoned, stoned, left for dead and scourged by the Romans, and yet he said in Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Note the conditions of knowing God's peace: 1.) You must love God, and 2.) you must be called according to His purpose, which means fitting into His plan and into His perfect will for your life.
Most reject God's peace because they surrender to their own selfishness and their lust for the pleasures of this world. Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you." A legacy of inner peace is offered to all who know Jesus Christ, regardless of their circumstances.
In these days of uncertainty and distress, will you receive Jesus Christ into your life? He is the Giver of eternal life and the Prince of Peace!
THE ROOT BEARS THE FRUIT
A farmer one planted two fruit trees on opposite sides of his property. The one he planted to provide a hedge hide the unsightly view of an old landfill; the other to provide shade to rest under near a cool mountain stream which ran down beside his fields. As the two trees grew, both produced began to flower and bear fruit. One day the farmer decided to gather the fruit from the tree nearest his house " the one used to provide a hedge from the landfill. As he brought the fruit inside the house, he noticed that it was a little deformed " the symmetry of the fruit was not very good, but still the fruit looked edible. Later that evening, while sitting on his porch the farmer took one of the pieces of fruit for a snack. Biting into the fruit, he found it to be extremely bitter, and completely inedible. Casting the fruit aside he looked across the field to the other tree over by the mountain stream. After walking across the field, the farmer took a piece of the fruit from the other tree and bit into it. Find the fruit to be sweet and delicious he gathered several more pieces of fruit and took them to the house.
The fruit was greatly affected by the nutrition of the root. Just as the tree grew by the landfill to be bitter, and the tree by the stream produced sweet fruit, so the Christian has a choice. He can either put down his roots into the soil of the landfill of fleshly pursuits, or into the cool refreshing stream of the person of Jesus Christ. We must understand that the root bears the fruit. The fruit of the Christian is the outward evidence of the inward motivation.
DO YOU KNOW CHRIST?
Billy Graham said in his message “Saved or Lost” in Texas in 1965. “..one of the fruits of the Spirit is joy. You might not be able to work up joy yourself, but God the Holy Spirit living inside of you can produce this joy supernaturally, and a Christian is to have joy.
He went on to say, “But a Christian is to have joy. That’s one of the great characteristics of the Christian is the joy that we have, and if you don’t have this joy and if you don’t have this...
Reading a book on growing grapes [P.M. Wagner, A Wine Growers Guide, 1996] gave me insight into Jesus’ words about vine, branches, and fruit. Wild female vines cannot bear fruit unaided; they have a defective stamen. Living outside God’s will does not produce good work or fruit. Cross-pollination does not change the character of fruit. Planting a good vine in bad ground will not produce good fruit, nor will planting a bad vine in good soil yield a harvest of good grapes; it depends on the character of the vine and the foundation in which it is planted. Bearing fruit in every good work requires the right combination. God the Father provides the fertile ground. His Son is the vine on which we grow. The Holy Spirit creates conditions optimal for bearing fruit.
D. Marie Hamilton
WORDS IN THE SPIRIT
When I was asked to be the preacher for the North Little Rock Ministerial Alliance Community Thanksgiving Service, I was floored. I didn't think that anybody thought that much about me. I was honored by the gesture, but the moment I said "yes," my nerves got the best of me. I know that God has not ever failed me, but even though I'm not of this world...I still live in it. And the somatic changes in body gave me heart burn and an upset stomach.
Finally the moment arrived for service. I read over my sermon frantically. The more I read over my sermon, the more nervous I became. Finally Dr. Watkins told me to stop reading. I obeyed her, but I didn't want to. I felt like that my life depended on me reading over that sermon just one more time. All sorts of thoughts ran through my mind. Would they laugh at my jokes? Will they get my off color humor? Would I offend one of the priests in our group with my encouragement for the assembled congregation in Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church for vocal feedback throughout my message? I didn't know what to expect, so I said a quick prayer and trusted that God would deliver.
The core of my message that evening was everyday that we experience is a day of Thanksgiving. Morning by morning new mercies we see. Thanksgiving is not a holiday, it's a way of life.
I hate to admit it, but I got full of the Spirit and said something that even surprised me. I said, "This here Methodist pastor is about to turn it out in this here Lutheran church!" I continued to say that because of this very moment right now, I will forever be grateful to God because God gets all of the glory. To my surprise, the congregation erupted with an explosive affirming Amen. I hope that I don't offend anybody when I say this, but from a cultural stand point -- me, being an African American pastor, I haven't ever seen a congregation of Anglo people get full of the Spirit like that before. It was like being at McCabe Chapel, but better because they wanted to hear the message that God put on my heart. I was humbled by that because they received the message with gratitude and joy.
That experience made me realize that I must watch what I say and do at all times because I have experienced and witness people of different denominations, priests, and pastors receive my sermon as if it came directly from the mouth of God. That's humbling on so many levels that I can't even describe it. All I know is that I've been changed forever by it.
Proverbs 18:21 specifically states that words kill and bring life. They're either poison or fruit. We're the ones that make the decision on which one we produce.
According to John Wesley, death and life are brought upon by men based on the words that they choose to use (Wesley's Notes). That just goes hand in hand with what Christ says in the twelfth chapter of Matthew: that if we have minds like snake pits then the things that we do to build the kingdom will not be heartfelt and sincere.
What's in our hearts, not what what's in the dictionary, that gives meaning to our words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. Jesus continues to teach us a hard lesson in that same chapter by telling us that every one of our carless words are going to come back and haunt us. Words are powerful; take them seriously because words can be our salvation as well as our damnation.
Are we going to produce life or death with what we say?
Couldn't You Endure Him?
According to a traditional Hebrew story, Abraham was sitting outside his tent one evening when he saw an old man, weary from age and journey, coming toward him. Abraham rushed out, greeted him, and then invited him into his tent. There he washed the old man’s feet and gave him food and drink.
The old man immediately began eating without saying any prayer or blessing. So Abraham asked him, "Don’t you worship God?"
The old traveler replied, "I worship fire only and reverence no other god." When he heard this, Abraham became incensed, grabbed the old man by the shoulders, and threw him out his tent into the cold night air.
When the old man had departed, God called to his friend Abraham and asked where the stranger was. Abraham replied, "I forced him out because he did not worship you."
God answered, "I have suffered him these eighty years although he dishonors me. Could you not endure him one night?"
In a back yard there once lived an apple tree and a thorn bush. The apple tree produced nice juicy apples that everyone liked to eat. Kids would climb up the tree and pluck the apples. Worms would eat the ones that fell on the ground. Birds would peck away at the fruit from the top. The owner would also prune and spray the tree to make sure it produced lots of fruit for the neighborhood. In the corner, about 50 yards from the apple tree stood a thorn bush. Nobody messed with the thorn bush. One day old Jimmy Johnson ran his bike into it, but after he got all cut up, he never made the same mistake again. Nobody picked any fruit off of it, everyone left it alone. At first the apple tree liked all the attention. But after about ten years, it started becoming envious of the thorn bush. It said to the thorn bush, “you know, I’m sick of everyone always climbing on me and picking my fruit. The master is always trimming me, putting smelly manure around my trunk, and making a fuss over me. I wish they’d go somewhere else. Better yet, I wish I was a thorn bush, then everyone would leave me alone.” The thorn bush then looked at the apple tree and said, “don’t be a fool! Bite your bark! Look at me! I don’t do anyone a bit of good. I feed nobody. I look ugly. All I do is harm. The master didn’t plant me here, I’m just a wild weed. The only good I do is to fill up some space in the yard. I would trade all the thorns in the world to have one child climb my branches - to have the Master trim my branches - and produce some fruit.”
As Christians, we are sometimes like the apple tree. It seems like we’re taken advantage of by the world. People ask us for our fruit, and then walk away without saying thanks. People climb us, abuse us, and do all sorts of things to us, and expect us just to take it all the time. The Master even removes our thorns by saying, “the fruit of the Spirit is peace.” But that’s par...
"WALK IN THE SPIRIT" DEFINED
For example, the students of Aristotle were known as the Peripatetics because of their habit of following the philosopher around from place to place as he dispensed his teachings. In Paul’s vocabulary, to "walk in the Spirit" or be "led by the Spirit" means to go where the Spirit is going, to listen to his voice, to discern his will, to follow his guidance
(Source: George, Timothy: Galatians. electronic ed. Nashville : Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1994 (Logos Library System; The New American Commentary 30), S. 386. From a sermon by Matthew Kratz, "Spiritual Warfare: The Flesh vs. The Spirit" 2/15/2009)
BIBLE VERSE: Galatians 5:22-23a
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
The Word "Fruit": Look at that word here, is it singular or plural? Yup, it’s singular. What does that mean? Simple, it means that when someone becomes a believer, they should begin to develop these items. These aspects of their life will begin to come through, maybe not right away, but this is what God will create in them (notice, gaining peace but not patience is technically unacceptable, since both are a part of the same fruit…all should be gained).
Fruit Example: Look fruit is good, everyone loves fruit (if someone disagrees, have some clever comeback here). Whether it is an apple, an orange, or a guanabana (it looks like a green prickly coconut with tons of seeds, but if you get past that, it has a white creamy pulp that is said to taste like a pineapple-apple mix), fruits are awesome. We want fruit, people want fruit, we need to do good deeds, and produce fruit.