The Spirit Within!!!

Fruits That Build A Strong Character!


Holy Spirit Prayer By St. Augustine
 by Jen Norton

THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK III

Ant. 2 (Morning Prayer) “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meeknesses, and self-control; against such, there is no law.” 

Galatians 5:22-23 Modern English Version (MEV)

Dear brothers and sisters, I have three questions this week… three short questions that can change your life if you truly ponder them;

1.) “Do you take time to contemplate how you treat others around you?

2.) Do you see yourself as expressing love and joy?

3.) Are you a kind person?”


Small Mirror Twin
 by Graham Dean

Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, in essence, is a list that carefully describes the fruits of the Holy Spirit, making the case that distinguishes the spirit of the Gospel from the harsh interpretations of the letter of the Jewish law. Pauls argument is most specifically found in how he crafted the list found in (Galatians 5:22-23). I feel it somewhat interesting that he felt he needed to list the fruits or the attributes of a true follower of Christ Jesus. It is interesting because our civilization is not far removed from the historical – spiritually unstable Galatians who were hung up on legalism. They so desperately clung to their many laws which they depended upon to serve as their moral compass. That God-given / man- changed moral compass sadly had led them away from God, hardening their hearts, and souring their faith. The same could be said about all of us Americans as a collective in the eyes of the world today.  For we apparently have abandoned that God-given moral compass that made our nation stand above all others as a beacon of hope, for our actions are not the actions of love or gentleness to those who come asking for help and protection. We have not been joyful in our hearts rather just the opposite – our country is divided more than ever. Many Americans could be seen as kind but our country in the eyes of the world is viewed as anything but. Paul is describing through the carefully chosen words within his list the characteristics of the Holy Spirit complete with examples of how best to apply them. He is saying that our moral compass, (beliefs), and how we live them and express them need to match our actions and those actions need to match what’s being described on that list! See my brothers and sisters, God is vastly more powerful than any man-made law. Likewise, the fruits of the Holy Spirit is not just above all the ugliness of mankind but because Christ lives within each of us we have no excuse to act any other way than those beautiful and wise words Paul wrote down over two thousand years ago. Wisdom words that apply every bit to us today as it did to the Galatians! We have no more excuse! Time… my friends is running out! It is time we reclaim our moral heritage by applying (Galatians 5:22-23) to our everyday life as only Americans can!

Examination of Character

27 “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the heart.” 

Proverbs 20:27 (MEV)

My Friend
 by Helen Thomas Robson

Last week I wrote about examining yourselves. It is important to take a step back and examine how you have been living your life from time to time. Looking deeply with heartfelt sincerity at how you may not have reacted in the way you probably should have allows you the opportunity to learn from those experiences and then correct those behaviors. I say this because like a good friend, shepherd, and loyal companion God examines us inside and out all the time. He does so joyfully with an overabundance of love in fulfillment of His promise to always be there for us. God patiently gives us what we need, and He takes away our pain and troubles when we completely give it up to Him. In return, God fills our hearts with peace and joy opening our lives to His unfailing love.

Building Character Through the Fruits of the Holy Spirit!


Inner Peace
 by Jane Small

This week I wanted to address how to take last weeks examination and build upon that self-reflection. Giving practical guidance that can be applied immediately for the greatest and most profound impact upon your life. So it is we start by always living our lives giving love to those who need it, be an example of joy for those who would otherwise be lost without it, and showing patience to those who put us to the test. God does these things because He is kind… so I ask again, “Are you kind?” God is filled with goodness and faith… so I ask again… “Do you make an effort to be filled with goodness and show your faith in Him?” In truth, all these characteristics are Godly but they are also measured with self-control,

7 “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control.”  

2 Timothy 1:7 (MEV) 

 For collectively as a country founded upon Christian beliefs, we all would be remiss if we did not heed God’s will,


5 “For this reason make every effort to add virtue to your faith; and to your virtue, knowledge; and to your knowledge, self-control; and to your self-control, patient endurance; and to your patient endurance, godliness; and to your godliness, brotherly kindness; and to your brotherly kindness, love.” 

2 Peter 1:5-7 (MEV)

Fruit Of The Spirit Art
 by Amber Hadden

Therefore, my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, build up your character within the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and through the examples of Jesus Christ, 

19 “Just as water mirrors your face so your face mirrors your heart.” 

Proverbs 27:19 (MSG)

Begin your learned knowledge, character building, and soul-searching with the very words of Jesus as He gives to us His most loving first and second commandments of our new covenant with God the Father, 

29 “Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. 30 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’this is the first commandment. 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:29-31 (MEV)

Using these commandments as your anchor everything else falls into place. Take time my brothers and sisters to contemplate how the world around you could be made better through the lens of Paul’s list. Reflect constantly on your own actions with every glance into the virtual mirror of your heart. Then ask on a daily basis for Jesus to make your heart and intentions clean and inline with His divine will. There will be days, trust me, that you will need His help, protection, and love. Be strong and motivated, always charging forward, always being aware of how you affect those around you, and never be afraid to make a course correction – being man or women enough to apologize for something you may have done wrong to your fellow man or women. Remember, we are our brothers and sisters keeper! I truly say to you, as a teacher I never truly know how my students interpret my teachings, I can only hope I have been effective. The same will be for you in your journey and it is this which if you allow it can turn you away from God and so I warn you always look forward building your knowledge and improving your character through the teachings of Christ.  Do as King Solomon wrote; 

21 Bind them continually upon your heart, and tie them around your neck.

Proverbs 6:21 (MEV)

At The Finish Line
 by Digital Photographic Arts

Conclusion

In keeping God’s commandments, observing the teachings of Apostle Paul, and applying the wise Proverbs of King Solomon you have the power to change the world for the positive. Remembering to always strive daily to find peace and to give it, find new and better ways to express love to others who you know and who you don’t, and in being kind, filled with goodness and gentleness you will find immense love and grace that allows others to do the same. In these things run the race for Christ, crossing the finish line in righteousness and let it be said of you my brothers and sisters that you fought the good fight, you finished the race, and that you kept the faith all the days of your life! 

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LET US PRAY!


Prayers Art Print – by Piet Flour

Psalm 51:10-15 (MEV)

A PRAYER FOR GOD’S COMPASSION UPON CONVICTION AFTER SELF-REFLECTION

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.


Ant. 2 “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Ant. 2 “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with Your willing spirit.

Ant. 2 “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will return to You.

Ant. 2 “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

14 Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God, God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of Your righteousness.

Ant. 2 “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise.

Ant. 2 “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

Doxology

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen! 

May the Lord bless you, protect you from all evil and bring you to everlasting life.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Saint Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

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Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark, M.S.Ed.

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