Fruit Of The Spirit Series – Known By Your Fruit

Fruit of the spirit seriesFruit of the Spirit! “Wow,” I thought to my self, “What fruit do people see produced from me?” My mind wondered to all the “yucky” responses I had over the years of situations and circumstances beyond my control. Times when I spoke my mind in a harsh tone or when I felt the need to let someone know they hurt me by ignoring them or say edgy words to them. Those reactions didn’t produce “life” but only “death!”

How does the Fruit of the Spirit get developed in us? Many times the Fruit of the Spirit was only produced after God corrected me and showed me how I walked in my flesh instead of His Spirit.

Hebrews 12:11 Amplified Bible

“For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness – in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God].”

OUCH! How can the Fruit of the Spirit be so painful? So I thought! Reality is; we all have more “flesh” in us then the Spirit. Our flesh produces fruit as well. Good or bad, we produce fruit.

What fruit are you producing?

What fruit are you producing? Fruit that looks good but is bad? Fruit that is immature, or fruit that is good?

I love plums. When plums are in season they are so sweet, juicy, and delicious. One day I went to the store to do some grocery shopping. I went to the fruit section and saw these beautiful, plump, deep purple plums. I thought to myself, “They look so good, they have to be delicious!” So I purchased a whole bag of them. When I got home, I was so excited to eat lunch and have one of those good looking plums. But when I bit into one of them it was bitter, hard, and dry. I was extremely disappointed. Thinking and expecting a juicy sweet bite and only got a bitter dry mouth. I quickly went to my sink and spit it out and threw the entire bag of plums away.

Fruit that looks good, but in reality is very bad! Is that you? God lovingly showed me  that that bitter plum was my fruit, and how He wanted to help me be the producer of good fruit.

It is easier to be selfish, which is the flesh, and think we are producing good fruit. We get all dressed up on Sundays and put on our best faces, but inside we are miserable or ugly. We can get caught up in what people think of us more then what God thinks of us. This will only produce good looking bad fruit.

People will come and “pick” your fruit. Again, what fruit are you producing? Maybe you are producing immature (not ripe) fruit. This is thinking you are a wonderful person when in reality you walk immaturely in Christ and expect others to like your fruit.

Immature fruit is walking around ignoring issues in your life and expecting good results. It is thinking everyone else is wrong and you are right. I know because I have walked down that immature, unfruitful road many times in my life. God would be working on me and I would allow Him a little of my heart thinking that was enough. Then I would try and minister to others not knowing my fruit was just in the infant stages. This can bring bitterness and resentment in others.

We can really do a world of hurt for others if we don’t take care of any issues in our own life. Issues like; pride, complaining, gossip, un-forgiveness, and so much more, if not dealt with, will produce bitter, unripe, even toxic fruit.

Rick Warren states in Purpose Driven Life:

“There are no short cuts to maturity. It takes years for us to grow to adulthood, and it takes a full season for fruit to mature and ripen. The same is true for the fruit of the Spirit. The development of Christlike character cannot be rushed. Spiritual growth, like physical growth, takes time. When you try to ripen fruit quickly, it loses its flavor. In America, tomatoes are usually picked unripened so they won’t bruise during shipping to the stores. Then, before they are sold, these green tomatoes are sprayed with CO2 gas to turn them red instantly. Gassed tomatoes are edible, but they are no match to the flavor of a vine-ripened tomato that is allowed to mature slowly.” Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 217.

If you want to live like Christ, and have given your heart to Him, there will be times of correction and rebuking. If you are like me, you know in your “knower” that you need to be corrected so that you produce the fruit of the spirit and not the works of the flesh.

God chose us before we were even born. He had a purpose for our lives and that is to bear good fruit.

John 15:16 NASB

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain.”

Jesus taught His disciples that fruitfulness was His purpose for them. The fruit of the Spirit is the character of Christ produced by the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life.

The Scriptures clearly teach that we cannot hope to develop godly character without the work of the Holy Spirit in our life. Paul write about contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit:

Gal. 5:19 – 21

“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

A Self-centered life manifests the works of the flesh, while a Christ-centered life manifests the fruit of the Spirit.

Paul continues in Galatians:

Gal. 5:22 – 25 NLT

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

The flesh can produce nothing but evil works, while the Holy Spirit produces Christ-life fruit. The former requires self-effort and results in death, and produces dead things, while the latter requires obedience to the Holy Spirit and produces life and peace.

Dying to our flesh always produces good fruit. We have to die to live. John the Baptist stated:

John 3:30 HCSB

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

The Contemporary English Versions states this verse:

“Jesus must become more important, while I become less important.”

This is talking about releasing our desires and needs, actually dying to them, for what Christ wants.

It is not easy dying to our flesh. It doesn’t come natural, and their will be pain involved when we do. We have to surrender and allow God to give us a new heart.

Ezekiel 11:19 Amplified Bible

“ And I will give them one heart [a new heart] and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony [unnaturally hardened] heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh [sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God],”

Do you want God to live in you? This is what happens when we crucify our flesh (Gal. 2:20). When we ask Christ to come into our hearts as Lord and Savior, we are asking Him to come and live, dwell in, and abide in us. We all need this! If you have done this, you can no longer practice or walk in sin. What I mean is that we have to STOP living in and participating in things that don’t please God.

1 John 3:9 – 10 The Message

“People conceived and brought into life by God don’t make a practice of sin. How could they? God’s seed is deep within them, making them who they are. It’s not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin. Here’s how you tell the difference between God’s children and the Devil’s children: The one who won’t practice righteous ways isn’t from God, nor is the one who won’t love brother or sister. A simple test.”

Do you practice sin or righteous ways? God has given us a “blue-print” of how we should live in the form of the Bible. This is His love-letter to us. Not rules and regulations to make our life miserable, but guidelines to make us fruitful and live an abundant life!

Be a Fruit Inspector, first in your own life, then in others. What fruit are you producing? Take a look around you and see if there is destruction, strife, chaos, hatred, lack of self-control, anger, un-faithfulness, lack of patience, meanness, and so much more bad fruit.

Surrender means pain before pleasure. Surrendering is dying to your fleshly desires. Anytime you get your way by acting ungodly, you have really lost. Oh we might win an argument or get to have our own way, but stepping back and looking at the bigger picture, you have lost. Remember, whenever flesh wins, we lose. When the Spirit wins, we win and produce good fruit.

Are you going to keep your flesh happy, but have no peace or die to your flesh, experience some pain, but then receive an abundant reward of peace, goodness, joy, and love? Really, the choice is yours.

In the natural, good fruit brings life to those who eat it, bad fruit only brings death. This is the same for our spiritual life. Giving God our whole heart and yielding to His correction brings forth good fruit always. But, if we put our time and energy into dead, worthless things, we will produce death.

We avoid “death traps” in the natural. Often in our spiritual lives we tend to run to them. Examples of Death Traps can be; Un-forgiveness, bitterness, harboring an offense, selfishness, self-pity, laziness, complaining, feeling superior to others, and the list goes on.

Death traps do not produce good fruit. They don’t produce life of any kind, only death. It is time to bury the dead things and move on with God. Quickly get rid of anything, or anyone that might be bringing death to you.

If you have people in your life who are always bringing you down, or producing dead fruit, it is time to walk away. But remember, if they are bringing you down, it might be due to your immature fruit of being offended over something they never meant to hurt you with. See how you need to mature and have a better perspective on life and people? See how important it is to die to your flesh and walk in God’s spirit? We can lead ourselves astray thinking others are death traps, when in reality we are the ones who need to change.

Inspect the fruit of others when you are not sure if they are someone you should have in your life. If they are producing good fruit, then relax and enjoy the fruit they are producing. If they produce bad fruit, if they constantly have a wake behind them of destruction, selfishness, and pain, it is a sign to walk away. Not in anger or resentment, but in wisdom and peace knowing God is with you, and pray their hearts soften to allow God to work in their life. The devil came to still, kill, and destroy. This is his fruit. This can also help us when we inspect the fruit of others.

Everyone bears fruit. I want to be fruitful and produce good fruit, the Fruit of the Spirit. What does it mean to be fruitful? One definition of it is the word “fertile.” Of course, the word fertile has several meanings. If a woman is fertile, that means that she has the ability to conceive and give birth to a child. If a piece of land is fertile, that means it has the power to bring forth something that can be harvested to meet the needs of human beings. If your life is bringing forth anything that can be harvested to meet the needs of others when they pluck that fruit, then your life is fruitful, just as God intended it to be.

You and I are the fruit bearers of the kingdom of God. Everyday our life should bear some kind of fruit. What fruit are you bearing?

For the month of May and June, 2013, we will be looking at the different Fruit of the Spirit and how to bear good fruit.

God has made available to us the means for leading an effective, and fulfilling, powerful, rewarding, and fruitful life. Let us be fertile soil, pliable in God’s hands, to produce good fruit, not only for our own life, but for those we come in contact with.

Be looking for more on the “Fruit Of The Spirit” in the coming weeks. The first fruit we will be looking at is “Love.”

From one Fruit bearer to another,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.krisbelfils.com

www.hopefellowshipspokane.com

www.krisbelfils.wordpress.com

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Now Women (A Mother’s Day Message)

Now WomenI would like to address the men for a minute. Yes, this message is geared towards Mothers/Women, but I encourage you to be praying for your women. Your women, in this message, might be receiving a wonderful revelation that will minister to them and will possibly be transformed and changed. Please encourage your women today and let them know that you love them and support them in life. Give them freedom to be themselves.

Role of Woman

Defining the role, as a woman in this world, is a hard thing to do. Tradition has placed women in a less equal role than God has ordained for them.

The “feminist” movement has left a bad taste in our mouths and Godly women do not want to be associated with the views and tactics of this movement. They just want to be treated well and given the same opportunities as men.

History has not been kind to women. Women in third world countries are still being viewed as “less than” and treated as a material object instead of a human being that was created by God.

In the past, Satan has caused women to retreat for fear that he would bruise their heels. But God is raising them up NOW to crush the enemy’s head.

After Adam and eve sinned, God told Satan, who had appeared to Eve in the form of a serpent and deceived her:

Genesis 3:15 NIV

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He (Jesus) will crush your head, and you will strike his (Jesus’) heel.”

Many women lose sight of the fact that Christ in them will crush the enemy’s head. They shrink back in fear that Satan will bruise their heels or their “seed”.

We as women are called to be women of purpose. This call has been given directly by God.

Women of Purpose

*Women of purpose consider it a privilege to be Ambassadors for Christ.

*Women of purpose understand the bigger picture of life.

*Women of purpose respond to responsibility, giving 100%.

*Women of purpose daily set priorities, placing God first in all things.

*Women of purpose see family and community as opportunities to demonstrate Christ’s love.

*Women of purpose model servanthood to all in the body of Christ.

*Women of purpose, by the Holy Spirit, manifest excellence in every part of their lives.

Some Facts:

▶Over 60% of the people in a given church are women.

▶75% of families are from single mother homes.

▶The first 5 years of a child’s life is influenced by the mother more than the father.

Women have great influence in this world. They have influence with their family, work, church, and community.

Women have nothing to fear from Satan, but Satan has reason to fear women. Why? We have Christ living in us and He will crush the enemies head! We win! It is because in this “now” season, God is calling WOMEN to rise up as “NOW” women and help usher in the new thing God is doing.

The New Thing God is doing amongst women:

▶ Giving the freedom to be who they were created to be. It is time we as women become happy with ourselves and walk in the freedom it gives us.

▶God is bringing reconciliation between genders.

▶Women uniting with other women to do a mighty work for God. An army of Mighty Women Warriors to do unimaginable things for God’s glory!

▶Raising them up with mantles of authority and wisdom to build the Kingdom of God together.

Now Women

1.  Now Women Initiate the new thing!

What does a NOW woman look like? Studying the account of Jesus’ first public miracle gives us a clue.

In John 2:1 – 11, The wine had run out at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. Mary, the mother of Jesus, determined the need of more wine. She responds and immediately went to Jesus and informed Him of this need. Mary goes to the Only one who could help. She knew the miracle working powers that were available in the Son of God, and accessed them.

Notice Jesus’ response to His mother: “Woman, what does your concern have to do with me? My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4). Basically Jesus was saying; “Why are you telling me this? It is not time yet for Me to display My glory.”

Mary initiated the “new thing” by going to Jesus. Mary was a NOW woman who knew it was time for something new to happen, and she was prepared to initiate it.

Mary told the attendants; “Whatever He says to you, do it” (John 2:5). Here is an example of a NOW woman initiating a new thing. In response to her initiation, Jesus gave instructions to the servants to fill the stone water pots with water so He could create the needed wine.

Many times, women initiate the next move of God on the earth, just as Mary initiated the beginning of Jesus’ ministry of miracles.

2.  Now Women conceive the new thing.

In the natural, only women can conceive and give birth to a child. Women are created that way. Hebrews chapter eleven is known as the “Hall of faith.” Sarah is recognized as the first woman of faith.

Hebrews 11:11 NKJV

“By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.”

Though Sarah was old, she conceived the “new thing” God wanted to birth; Isaac, the child of promise.

Like Sarah, Now Women conceive the “new thing.” Even in your old or young age you can conceive and give birth to a new move of God. Such women are desperately needed in the church! If there is one thing wrong with us right now it is that we’ve lost the passion to be able to conceive the new thing God wants to do on the earth for this very hour! We need to cry out to God for conception of the New He is doing and say, “Let it begin in me!”

3.  Now Women announce the new thing.

Mary Magdalene announced the resurrection of Jesus to the Disciples. The bible tells us that Jesus chose her, a woman, to appear to first.

Mark 16:9 NKJV

“Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.”

Mary Magdalene went and told the disciples that Jesus was alive. She was the first preacher of the Gospel, a woman. Why did Jesus appear to a woman first? I believe it was because Jesus knew the others were too filled with fear and unbelief. to announce His resurrection. In fact, they didn’t believe Mary when she made the announcement, but she knew she had seen her Lord.

Mark 10 – 11 NKJV

“She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.”

In this situation, Mary was not afraid to tell others of what she encountered. She was a mouth piece for Jesus letting His followers know that He was alive and well. She had the courage to announce the good news because she knew what it meant. He truly was the Son of God! She realized all what Jesus said was true too. History was forever changed and she was chosen to be the announcer of this miraculous event.

Like Mary, women are about to become the next trumpeters of faith throughout this land. Don’t be surprised if criticism comes and people do not believe what God has shown you. It happened to Mary, and it may happen to you. Continue to initiate, conceive, and announce the NOW thing, the NEW thing God has shown you.

4.  Now Women Intervene for the new thing.

Abigail had the ability to circumvent trouble by intervening at the right moment. She was married to Nabal, a wicked, evil person.

In 1 Samuel 25:2 – 42, Nabal was a rich business man. David and his men protected Nabal’s men and wanted to get provisions for his men from Nabal. David’s young messengers approached Nabal and asked for food and water. Nabal rejected their request and didn’t give them anything. This made David mad. He immediately went with 400 men to go and destroy Nabal and all that he owned. One of Nabal’s men, who David helped, went and told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, what had happened and that David and his men were coming. Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys She sent her servants on before her. She didn’t tell her husband, but went undercover behind a hill and saw David and His men. She dismounted quickly and fell on her face before David and bowed down to the ground. She fell at his feet and took all the iniquity her husband did towards them. She explained how her husband is exactly what his name means; folly and evil. She expressed “as the Lord lives,” she prophetically decreed how David would hold back the bloodshed and from avenging what Nabal did and any enemy who seeks harm like would experience what Nabal will experience. She asked for forgiveness for what her husband did. David received all the gifts and vowed to not harm Nabal. She waited to tell her husband in the morning, after he had his feast and all the wine was out of his system. When she did, he experienced a heart attack and died ten days later. David heard that Nabal died and took Abigail as his wife.

Abigail did several things that were correct: She positioned herself correctly, she humbled herself correctly, and she interceded and intervened correctly. Her prophetic declarations showed boldness and insight into what God would do for her.

God has placed many NOW women in difficult situations in which they have the opportunity to intervene. When they do, God intervenes on their behalf. When they acknowledge the anointing of God on a person, God blesses them and they will receive the respect and favor of God on their lives. Not only do they recognize the anointing on their leaders, they have an anointing on themselves also. NOW women not only intervene, but they are given eyes to see and ears to hear what is needed in any situation. They are anointed with an anointing that breaks any yoke of bondage!

5.  Now Women activate the time of change for the new thing.

Naomi is another example of a NOW woman. She was a woman who knew it was time for change. In the Book of Ruth Naomi had moved to Moab from Bethlehem with her husband. But then she lost him as well as both her sons. Realizing that Bethlehem held the key to her future, she decided to return. On of her daughters-in-law, Ruth, chose to leave her native land and go with Naomi. Together they began to rebuild their lives. Ruth went to work gleaning the fields of a man named Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi’s husband. When the harvest ended, Naomi realized that it was again time for change. She felt that Ruth needed a more stable situation. She told Ruth she wanted to secure a future for her and sent her to Boaz, hoping that he would take care of her because she was a relative.

Naomi was a NOW woman because she seized the opportunity to activate a cultural law of redemption in order to protect her daughter-in-law. She gave Ruth several instructions; to wash and anoint herself, to put her best garment in place of the widow’s garb she had been wearing, and wait for the right timing and to lie down at Boaz’s feet.

The result of Naomi’s taking action at the right moment and Ruth’s obedience was that Boaz got up and blessed Ruth. He also promised he would abide by the law of redemption and would take care of her if a closer relative would not do his duty. He became her “Kinsman Redeemer.”

Now women know when it’s time for change and activate it. If they step out in courage and move to initiate the change at the right moment, they will secure their future.

Why is this important? Because if Women can discern, but the spirit, what God is doing and rise up to pray, His plans will be fulfilled through them.

6.  Now women complete instead of compete for the new thing.

We as women have always seemed to compete with each other. Sometimes it feels like we have to have a “one up” on every other woman we see. Women compete for looking the best, for men, for position, for relationships, and so much more.

It is time we stop competing with each other and start completing one another! Where one lacks in strength another can pick up the slack. Each of us have different gifts and talents. Too many times women use those gifts against each other. It only brings strife, division, hatred and hurt feelings. When women lock arms together mighty things can happen. There is no stopping what God can do with a group of women who have their hearts set on helping each other succeed.

Women have to rise up and see the bigger picture. There is strength in numbers. The devil wants to destroy anything and everyone that is connected with you and God. He wants to cause division and hatred. He fuels the fires of competing with one another. He places thoughts and lies in our heads for us to act upon. Let us recognize this and stop falling for his schemes of trickery.

We are sisters! My fellow sister is not my enemy or competition, the enemy of my soul is. Let us join together and win souls for the Kingdom of God. Let us come together and unite in love, God’s love. And because it is perfect love from God, it drives out any fear of rejection from others. It drives out any worries of being replaced or someone getting a “one up” on us.

Let’s be women who support one another and encourage each other. Be quick to have mercy and grace for each other. There is always room for my fellow sister to make mistakes. Remind yourself that you are not perfect and make mistakes too. Treat each lady as if she was your best friend. This gives freedom for relationships to grow, heal and sore to new heights. I have done this and it has helped me forgive my sister.  Choose to love in spite of your feelings. We need to build a community of loving, caring, supporting, encouraging, and never back bitting women in our church today!

Recap:

  1. Now Women initiate the new thing.
  2. Now Women conceive the new thing.
  3. Now Women announce the new thing.
  4. Now Women intervene for the new thing.
  5. Now Women activate the time of change for the new thing.
  6. Now Women complete instead of compete for the new thing.

 Beauty Tips

By Audrey Hepburn

▶For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

▶For lovely eyes, seek out the GOOD in people.

▶For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

▶For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.

▶For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

▶People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode, but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows.

The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.

If you are woman, always remember you were created for a purpose. Be a NOW WOMAN for God’s glory to change your world!

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.krisbelfils.com

www.hopefellowshipspokane.com

www.krisbelfils.wordpress.com

The Hope Series – “Hope Against Hope!”

hoping against hope_wide_t_nvThere will be times in our life when we have to hope and believe God will do what He said He will do, even when our circumstances scream at us contrary. This is Hoping Against Hope.

What do you do when…

►There is not enough money to pay your bills, let alone by groceries, and it is only the 5th of the month?

►You were just fired from your job and your spouse has been laid off for several months?

►Your car just broke down and you have no money to get it towed, let alone get it repaired?

►You just received news you have cancer?

►You found out your Mother just died and she was your rock you leaned on.

►God spoke to you years ago that you would do great things, but you are at home changing diapers?

►God promised you a promised land but all you can see is rejection, brokenness, and shame?

Paul tells us that Abraham Hoped Against Hope!

Romans 4:18 NASB

“In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.”

Hope against hope. What does that mean? It means “To have hope even when the situation appears to be hopeless.” “To Hope very strongly that something will happen, although you know it is not very likely” (www.idioms.thefreedictionary.com).

Why would anyone in their right mind believe hope against hope? Logic tells you otherwise. It is easy to take the comfortable road of logic. It is the road most traveled. Logic fights with faith every minute of the day. It is logical and understandable to look at the facts and base your decision on what you know. God asks us to step out in faith and believe.

Just like Peter stepping out of the boat, it defied logic, yet it happened. Logic would have told him to stay in the boat. But [] staying in the boat means you are a boat talker and not a water walker.

In Reginald T. Steele’s book, “Get Out Of The Boat” he states: “A boat mentality is a mental condition that only functions in logic. A person who has a “boat mentality” always wants to play it safe; rarely taking a risk that is beyond their own comprehension. They want to remain in the boat, because the level of risk is comfortable. Rarely do people with a “boat mentality” remain in uncomfortable situations; they would rather stay in the boat and be a “boat talker,” but never a water walker.”

Are you a water walker or a boat talker?

If you Believe that God is real you maybe a water walker. If you Believe God sent His Son, you maybe a water walker. If you Believe your sins are forgiven and that God has great plans and a purpose for you, you may be a water walker. All this is based on hope and willing to believe in the unthinkable. But if you are a person who doesn’t believe in God, or maybe you believe, but you are unwilling to step out in faith for what God is calling you to do, you are a boat talker. Playing it safe seems right and comfortable, but often will never get you anywhere.

Paul tells us that Abraham’s faith was “Accredited to him as righteousness.”

Romans 4:19 – 24 NASB

“Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness. Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.”

Everything around him, and in him, said there was no reason to believe what was promised (and what he desperately wanted) would take place. Yet Abraham went on in faith believing the promises would be fulfilled.

At age 75 God first promised Abraham he would be a father of many nations. At age 86 Ismael was born from Hagar. Sarah made Hagar, her maid-servant, sleep with her husband to bring an offspring. This was not God’s plan or promise. It wasn’t until Abraham was 99 years old when Sarah finally conceived, and a year later bore a son, Isaac. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. 25 years from when the promise was spoken until it’s fulfillment.

Have you been waiting for a promise from God to be fulfilled?

Abraham was very old and much time had passed since God first told him he would be the Father of many nations. Sarah’s whom was dead. No life all these years ever came from her.

But God said they will have a son. Against all hope, Abraham believed that God would give him a son! This is faith!

Romans 4 tells us Abraham’s living hope, his hope against hope, for the future he looked for was based on his conviction that God could call things into existence which did not exist and He could bring throbbing life out of death.

Now that is fact! God brings life out of the dead. God brought life to Adam from the dust of the earth. It happened with Jesus being raised from the dead. It happened when Lazarus was raised from the dead and it can and will happen to you as you stand in faith believing, in spite of your circumstances or what your logic is telling you.

In hope, against all human hope,

Self-desperate, I believe; . . . 

Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees,

And looks to that alone;

Laughs at impossibilities,

And cries: It shall be done! 

Charles Wesley 

It shall be done! I love that. This is what God can and will do for you to! Sometimes we “hope against hope” in our own lives. We have to. If we don’t, we will fall into despair and hopelessness.

It is easy to struggle with what God promised and what the facts are before you. Struggling with God’s promises is not doubt, just as temptation to sin is not itself sin.

Hope refuses to doubt and trusts in God’s promises, even when no way of fulfillment is humanly imaginable.

Abraham’s hope was shown because he was fully persuaded that God’s promise was certain and His power sufficient, because he was, as Paul states in Romans 4:21, fully convinced/assured that God was able to do what He had promised.

Trusting in a person’s promises requires believing they not only have the power to keep them, but also the will to do so.

Behind all promises lies the character of the person who makes them. Do you keep your promises? Be trustworthy and do what you say you will do!                                                                                                                                         

Pastor Kris Belfils

God keeps His promises with you, shouldn’t you keep your promises you make to others? Absolutely!

You may know of someone who makes empty promises? They promise they will do something and they don’t show up. They promise to help and then cancels at the last minute. They are unreliable. This is not the case with God.

God has proven Himself over and over again. We see him prove Himself in the lives of others. We see Him prove Himself in our own life. He is trustworthy.

  • The question is: how big is your God? The answer to that question will determine how big your hope is. Is your god only the god of the everyday, simply maintaining the status quo? Or is your God, the sovereign God of the universe who delights to show people that everyday He accomplishes the humanly impossible to show that with Him, all things are possible (Matt 19:26)?

Abraham had a definite word from God about his future. He knew what God had promised, but he had no indication about when the promise would be fulfilled. The same is often true for us. While we are waiting for our manifestation to come forth–waiting for a breakthrough–we may grow frustrated or impatient. Sitting in the waiting room of life is not always easy!

You may possibly have lost hope in your situation, but you have to understand that one Word from God will change the situation for your good, for when everything else fails [] God’s Word cannot fail, for God watches over His word to perform it, and His Word is forever settled in heaven.

Hope against hope! One Word from Your all powerful God is all it takes! His time frame and ours are two different things. You tell yourself; “It’s not over!” You speak to your spirit and say, “God has a plan!” Tell yourself, “God sees me!” He is working things out for my behalf.

What is the word you need? Abraham waited and it was finally his season to receive the blessing promised. He stood on it daily. He spoke to God about it. This is what we need to do.

Stir yourself up! Don’t allow yourself to fall into self pity! Don’t allow discouragement to set in your spirit. Hope against all natural hope and push into the supernatural of God’s Living Hope that He will bring a break though in your life. Do you believe it? Do you trust Him?

Weak faith results from giving consideration or meditation to the circumstances that you are faced with. In order to have strong faith you must stay focused on God’s Word as the final judge for all life’s situations.

Unbelief is at the bottom of our staggering at the promises of God. This is being double minded and unstable in your heart. Strong faith is born as you stay focused on God’s promises without wavering with a fervent persuasion that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us.

God’s Word brings hope to the hopeless in spite of the circumstance as the Word is received and acted upon.

Tell yourself: “I may be down, but God is lifting me up!”

Tell the enemy; “You thought you had me. You thought I was giving up, but God is setting me up for my victory!”

It may seem hopeless, but put your hope in God and He will bring the answer!

Circumstances may be screaming at you, but God is BIGGER! How big is your God? Remember this determines the size of your hope.

Speak to your circumstances and tell them they have to line up with God’s word.

His word says that ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR OUR GOOD!

His word states; “ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME!”

HE IS GOD AND DOES NOT LIE!

It is your time and your season of change in Jesus’ name!

Be willing to step out in faith and risk possibly all that you know for something you have been longing for. The worse that could happen is NOTHING! So what do you have to lose?

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.krisbelfils.com

www.hopefellowshipspokane.com

www.krisbelfils.wordpress.com

The Hope Series – “Hope That Stands In The Storm”

hope that stands in the storm_wide_t_nvTo many, hope seems elusive or unattainable, but there is a hope that will stand for all time. It stands in the middle of struggles and storms. It stands when common sense tells you to give up.

What do you do when you experience a hardship or a storm? Do you cower? Do you give up? Do you get mad at God? God wants us to be mature Christians who are not tossed by every wind and wave that comes our direction.

Are you stable? Maybe you are one who is juggling so many things in life that if one more thing came your way you would crash.

There is an anchor, an unmovable hope, that stands the test of time.

Psalm 46:1 – 3 NKJV

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and thought the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah”

Even though all these things might be going on in your life, you still have hope that God will protect and rescue you. No one, nothing will ever take this away from you. This hope is strong because you have placed it in God alone and nothing else.

Hope commands us to be:

1.  Joyful

Romans 12:12

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.”

Be joyful in hope. Sometimes the circumstances of your life (and condition of this world) make it difficult for you to be joyful. When you’re searching for Joy, where do you turn? One of the best places to find true Joy is in hope.

Ephesians 1:17 – 18 ESV

“[May God] give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.”

Since you are a co-heir with Jesus, this blessing is definitely for you. When present circumstances are weighing you down, grasp onto hope for dear life! It will help you not only to survive but to thrive – to live joyously.

In some ways, hope is like a hot-air balloon. It is very buoyant, so it can lift you up above your troubles. It enables you to soar in the heavens with Jesus – helping you see things from a heightened, big-picture perspective. To embark on this heavenly journey, you must climb into the basket beneath the balloon – by trusting fully that your hope in God will not let you down (Jesus Today, Sarah Young, Experience Hope Through His presence).

Proverbs 23:18

“There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”

We are joyful in hope when we stand in the midst of tragedy or hardship. We are immovable hiding in our mighty fortress of our Strong Tower. In the midst of the storm God is working and healing and cleansing you. Often storms are there to bring change in our lives. Change to our mundane living, change to how we think and function, and change that comes from the inside out of you.

We have a Strong Tower to run to in the middle of any storm.

Psalm 61:1 – 4 NKJV

“Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You. When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.”

Video:  Strong Tower  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hc5fqU0Owo4

2.  Strong when we are wounded.

2 Tim. 2:3 CEV

“As a good soldier of Christ Jesus you must endure your share of suffering.”

Being wounded doesn’t give you a “free ticket” to leave this spiritual battle we are in. We have to see the bigger picture of destroying the enemy. We are a threat to him when we stand strong and continue wielding our sword after being wounded. There is a hope that wells up inside of us to keep going in the face of our fears or hurts and struggles.

True story:

Tommy Rieman was a teenager pumping gas in Independence, Kentucky, when he enlisted in the United States Army. Today, he wears the Purple Heart and the Silver Star of an American hero! He was, in fact, introduced to the nation during President Bush’s 2007 State of the Union Address.

Now, there’s been much disagreement about the war in Iraq, but there’s no disagreement about the heroism of soldiers like Sgt. Rieman!

The day his squad was ambushed by enemy fire in the midst of a reconnaissance mission, they were outnumbered ten to one! Their vehicles kept moving as Sgt. Rieman dove into the backseat and used his body as a shield to protect his gunner! As they sped away from the ambush, they found themselves ambushed AGAIN by some fifty enemy attackers! Rieman was shot in the right arm, he was shot in the chest, he had shrapnel wounds to his chest and stomach and ear, and his squad was out of ammo! HOWEVER, IN SPITE OF HIS WOUNDS, Tommy Rieman began firing away with his grenade launcher at their attackers! Finally, the enemy’s guns fell silent. ONLY THEN DID Sgt. Rieman began tending to his wounds and the wounded! That’s what you call a Certified Hero! Someone who’s been wounded – even badly wounded – and they still keep fighting! They realize, the Warfare Doesn’t Cease Because They’re Wounded…So With Everything They’ve Got…They Continue to Wield Their Weapons!

That’s what Spiritual Heroes do, too! In Spite of Their Wounds, They Continue to Wield Their Weapons, Knowing that the Warfare Doesn’t Stop Because They’ve Been Wounded!

3.  Steadfast

Hebrews 6:19 NKJV

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.”

Steadfast means: “resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering” (Dictionary). That’s what anchors do. Our hope is an anchor to our soul so we will never be shaken. Be resolute in your hope. Hope is always there, we are the ones who give up on it. Be firm and unwavering in hope.

We have been given freedom to enter behind the veil. The veil to the Holy of Holies was ripped in two when Jesus died on the cross. That means we have full access to enter into God’s presence in prayer and worship. Let it become your lifestyle!

Psalm 9:9 NKJV

“The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”

Our hope is an anchor, immovable and always present. Remind yourself Who God is when struggles or battles come. God is our refuge and strength, our very present help in trouble.

Let’s look at Psalm 46 again…

Psalm 46:1 – 3 NKJV

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and thought the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah”

The hope is that no matter what we go through, no matter what happens in this world, God is our refuge and strength and no one can take that away from us. This brings peace in the middle of any storm. God helps us in the middle of our troubles. Our job is to allow Him access to every area of our lives. If you have to hide it, don’t do it!

Psalm 71:5, 14 – 16 NKJV

“For You are my hope, O Lord, God; You are my trust from my youth…. But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day, For I do not know their limits. I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.”

4.  Hope Givers

Psalm 16:9

“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.”

We rest in our Living Hope, Jesus Christ daily. But not only do we rest in Him, but we need to become givers of Hope!

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Mark Twain

How do most people feel when they’re around you? Do they feel small and insignificant, or do they believe in themselves and have great hope about what they can become?

The key to how you treat people lies in how you think about them. It’s a matter of attitude. What you believe is revealed by how you act.

“Treat a man as he appears to be and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he already were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

1749-1832, Poet and Novelist

Hope is perhaps the greatest gift you can give another person as the result of nurturing, because even if people fail to see their own significance, they still have a reason to keep trying and striving to reach their potential in the future.

Don’t treat people less-then their full potential. Encourage them to rise up to a higher level in life and in their relationship with God. Let them know they have value and that you care about them. This helps hope to arise in their hearts.

5.  Patient

Far too often we want to give up when we don’t see answers to our prayers. But being hopeful requires patience. It is one of the fruit of the spirit.

Galatians 5:22 – 23 ESV

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Having the Holy Spirit living in us will produce fruit. The question is are you allowing that fruit to produce? Patience requires self-control, love, and peace.

The kind of fruit that the Spirit produces in us is a cheerful and hopeful patience.

James 1:2 – 4 NKJV

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

The word “patience” is translated in the original Greek as; “cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy: – enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting)” (Strongs G5281)

Whenever we are impatient we fall into our flesh. Ask God to help you walk in the spirit and produce the fruit and character He wants in your life. We are to be people of Godly character. Has God been patient with you? Yes! How many times have you messed up and God patiently waits for you to call out to Him for help? If you are like me, infinite times. I long to have God’s character and not my own. In order to have that we have to experience tribulations and trials. It produces the patience and hope we desperately need.

Romans 5:3 – 5 NKJV

“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Hope does not disappoint! I love that! We are never ashamed by holding onto the Living Hope. Some people put their hope in themselves, or people, or circumstances, but we put our hope in nothing but God and His love that is poured out into our hearts. All of this comes when we experience storms or trials. Wow, how beautiful and yet how difficult at the same time.

This is the love of God to allow us to walk through hardship or suffering so that we persevere and godly character is grown which produces the hope we need for everyday living.

So what about you? How do you respond when storms arise in your life? Do you get mad at God and turn your back on Him? Do you give up? Do you get all upset and think there is no hope?

Today, God wants you to be a person of His character who stands in the middle of any storm you may face. Not only do you stand, but you have this cheerful, hopeful endurance to keep on going in the face of this storm! This is what God wants to instill in each of us. Are you willing? Let’s be mature Christians and not babies in our walk with God and live that victorious life we all called to live!

From one steadfast storm stander to another,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.krisbelfils.com

www.hopefellowshipspokane.com

www.krisbelfils.wordpress.com