Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fruitcakes; Philippians 1:9-21

You know why English people are sometimes called "Limeys?" Pirates know. It's because British sailors could suffer from scurvy when spent too much time sailing the seven seas, mates. "Scurvy" is a pirate term for ricketts, a vitamin deficiency. When all you drink id grog (watered down rum) and all you eat is jerky and salt tack, you begin to get weak. So, the British Navy, sought a solution. In the days before canned goods and refrigerators, they couldn't offer their sailors a balanced diet, but they could store shiploads of limes in their holds. Lemons and limes are an excellent source of vitamin C- the natural enemy of scurvy.

One reason I wanted to study Philippians is because so many teens have so much stress or fight depression. Philippians is the "cheerleader" book of the Bible. Paul exhorts and encourages us to hang tough and hang onto the Joy that God can give, even in the hardest times. If you have good nutrition, and enough vitamins, your body can fight off infection. If you have Spiritual fruit in your life you can make it through the tough times.

How's your fruit supply?
In Philippians 1:9-11 Paul prays for that "your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight," Why? Why does he want us to learn and grow?
"so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God." Those are good reasons.
What are the "fruit of righteousness that comes from Jesus?" Check out Galatians 5:22-23

  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • kindness
  • goodness
  • faithfulness
  • gentleness and
  • self-control
When you think about it, aren't just about each and every one of those things that we'd all like to have? Aren't almost all of them the opposites of discouragement, stress, anxiety, depression, negativity, anger, frustration, sadness, and loneliness?
Yep. Exactly my point.

So how do you get these fruit? Well, lets see... how about if your love were to "abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight?" Learning and Living, living and learning. The way to stock up on the Fruit of the Spirit, is living God's Word, and reading and learning about God's Word- just like you're doing right now.
Three ways to gather fruit for life's voyage:
  1. Read the Bible
  2. Pray and straight out ask for it- "God, please give me the fruit of the Spirit." and
  3. Give the fruit away, use it up. The more you use, the more you'll have! Try it, it's amazing.
If you practice love, people will love you for it. If you're joyful, people will want to be with you and it feeds on itself, upbeat, positive people make others upbeat and positive.
If you sow peace, you'll reap peace. If you're patient, others will be patient with you. If you're kind to others, you defuse their anger and guess what- "what goes around comes around."
Goodness?? Why should I be good all the time? Ever hear that "Virtue is it's own reward?" In the song "Santa Claus is coming to town," the lyrics don't say, be good so you can get lots of toys, they say "be good for goodness sake." And believe me, you have no idea how much hurt you save yourself and others when you have self-control.

So how's your fruit supply?

Dear Jesus,
Draw me closer to You
and deeper into Your Word.
Make my love abound more and more.
Help me grow in knowledge of You, Your will for me and Your Word
Help me grow in understanding, don't just let me have all the right answers, but help me to live out what You teach me.
Grant me greater love, more joy
total peace and endless patience,
remind me to be kind, help me want to be good not to get anything out of it, but just for the sake of being good,
show me how to be gentle and grant me self-control.
In Jesus name,

Now, don't be such a scurvy dog, ye land luver! Argh!

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