Fruit of the Spirit



The mention of the term self-control undoubtedly brings to mind different images for people depending on their particular circumstances. Many probably think of combating dominating habits that can range from the simple to the more complex and debilitating. It may be as simple as a poor diet or a tendency to overeat at Thanksgiving, or to talking too much. It may also be something far more serious like chain smoking, drunkenness, drug abuse, sexual sins (pornography and adultery), a quick temper, a pattern of exaggerating or lying, etc. Others may think of dealing with an abusive spouse, parent, or employer or of dealing with their own tendencies toward losing control and becoming abusive. Others need self-control because they are lazy or have poor work habits while others are workaholics and need self-control to back off and learn to relax. Regardless, self-control is very much an important part of maturity. One of the basic characteristics of infancy is a lack of self-control. Not only do babies need diapers, they must be carried because they lack the necessary control and muscle coordination to sit up much less walk or run. If a babies are healthy and normal, in time they will develop more and more self-control—a sure sign of growth and maturity.

Self-control means to be in control of one’s attitudes or thought processes, desires or passions, and patterns or habits so they do not dictate one’s behavior. The question we must ask ourselves, is are we asking and allowing the Holy Spirit to produce self-control within us?

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Rex

Who poked the bear?


Written by Fiona Monaghan Self Control QuoteWe like to think we have all kinds of self control, but what happens when someone ‘pokes the bear’ or ‘pushes your buttons’? That is when we find out just how much self-control we really have. Now we have come to the last of the nine fruit of the spirit and this one is probably the toughest one to live with or without.

The only way to develop self control is to continually work at it. When stress or temptation comes into our lives and we can remember to take a moment before responding. Trying to ‘count to 10’ or take a deep breath, will give us a better chance of not doing or saying something we will have to fix later.

Choosing a correct response to things that come at us in life requires taking time to sort through and determine an appropriate response. Many of us don’t do that. We have that “quick trigger finger.”

self-control-1The good thing about this is that we can ask for help. God does provide the power behind the doing. We just have to be willing to ask for the help.

Then, of course, we have to put into action self-control when opportunity is presented. To stop and think, to weigh the outcomes of a certain response and the more we can practice the more it should become easier…

This week pay attention to those times you are called on to exercise self-control: in traffic, with children or spouse, with co- workers. Be willing to ask God for help in becoming better self-controlled.

Photo credit: Never & Proverbs

Are you True Blue?


Written by Fiona Monaghan I wonder if we might get a better idea of what faithfulness is if we looked at what it is not?

Someone who is not faithful is one who can be swayed to do mean things. Who can feel ok with letting people down, not living up to promises, not staying true to a loved one but will sell them out for a price.

image002-3“…Faithfulness has two different meanings. If we mean the faithfulness of God or Jesus, it refers to steadfastness, honesty, firmness, and God's utter dependability based on His unchanging character. If we mean human faithfulness, it refers to our steady allegiance to God and our trust in Him. A "faithful" man is "full of faith"; he believes in the reality of God as revealed in Scripture…” 

I think I have learned more about God’s personal faithfulness toward me since losing my hearing. I saw things line up to provide me with hearing aids from an unlikely source, was able to get in to see the best surgeon in Seattle to do the implant, to funds being available to pay for it. I could see his promises coming true right before my eyes.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Proverbs 3:5-6 - (The Message)

image001-6This fruit is a result from when we put into action our trust and loyalty in God. We want to live our lives to please Him. We won’t be looking to find a way out of things, or being disloyal to others or trying not to commit to something that requires effort on our part. We will discover that we are becoming people of faithfulness:

“Doing what is needed to take good care of what is entrusted to us”

I would suggest a word study on this one. We think we know what it means, but when you look it up in the dictionary or online, there is so much more to this word. You might be surprised…

Photo Credit: Faithfulness & Lucado

Joy comes from within


Written by Fiona Monaghan But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind. Galatians 5:22-23

Karl_BarthMany think of joy as a happy emotion. An emotion one feels when something really, really good happens. When in all actuality, it is a deep sense of well-being and contentment no matter what the circumstances are around you.

James uses joy in this verse … Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4

Joy is something that comes from within, not subject to circumstances being all lined up in your favor and looking good on the outside.

Joy is distinctly a Christian word and a Christian thing. It is the reverse of happiness. Happiness is the result of what happens of an agreeable sort. Joy has its springs deep down inside. And that spring never runs dry, no matter what happens. Only Jesus gives that joy. He had joy, singing its music within, even under the shadow of the cross.   - S.D. Gordon

As I came to understand what joy is and what it is not, it became much clearer to me that it isn’t a character trait we can formulate. It seems to flow out of other things. Gratitude (as mentioned above); gratefulness, knowing that this life as we know it is not all there is; that there is something better coming. It is putting our faith and trust in God no matter what may be happening in our lives whether good or bad. Knowing He is still in control and it will work out in the end, even if not how we expected it. Then, from that choice of behavior joy flows.

This week’s challenge: Do your own word study on JOY. See how many quotes and verses you can come up with and see if your understanding of the word will change.

What are you growing in your spiritual garden?


Written by Fiona Monaghan This weekend I was working in my garden planting vegetables. While I was working, a talk I had heard came to mind. In the talk, the teacher painted a picture with words that have stuck with me throughout the year and I wanted to share with you.

A gardener is planting his seeds into the soil and then attaches a picture of what that plant will look like when it comes to maturity; usually the package that the seeds came is attached to a stick at the end of the row.

Imagine the seed is in the ground and wonders what it will look like when it matures. He pokes his head out every once in awhile to look at the picture of the mature plant. “Oh yes! That is what I will look like when I am done growing!”

Even though just a tiny seed with little evidence showing of what he will become, it doesn’t have to do much more than just wait, be patient and become like that picture.

This is much like Jesus’ encouragement to us to abide in the vine making sure we stay attached and in time we shall become mature branches and produce fruit. He used gardening metaphor because he was speaking to agrarian culture where they knew planting, reaping, and harvesting terms. We are encouraged to produce Fruit of the Spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control.

This fruit or character traits don’t come easy to us. We experience a tug of war from all the opposite traits. But, the promises are there for us -“Christ in you, the hope of Glory”Abide in me and I will abide in you …” “ Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives… We are asked to join God in the work that he is already accomplishing all around us, and how best to be of help but to exhibit the fruit we are asked to exhibit.

Jesus is our model. He is the picture on the seed packet. He lived the character we are asked to exhibit. Not only that, he promises to empower us with his Spirit, to become all that we can be.

Take a moment and write a down a couple verses of Jesus’ words (ex: “If God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t he more surely care for you?” Matthew 6:30; “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes my Father who sent me” Mark 9:37;“I say, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you” Luke 6:27-28). Spend a week looking at them, soaking them in, activity applying them to your life. Jesus challenges us to grow and by continually looking to him and his lessons we will keep our eyes focused on him.