Peace in the Pandemic, part 5: Getting More Fruit of the Spirit

Dear Christian Sisters and Brothers,

We’ve all learned that asking God for patience results in a test of our patience!

We’re already feeling tested enough with the pandemic! So, how do we ask God for patience without getting a test?

Listen in on my secret to having peace that passes understanding.

Jesus said, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:13 NASB)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 NASB)

Or should it be punctuated like this?

The fruit of the Spirit is love: Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

In Christ,

Cheryl

Peace in the Pandemic, part 4: Restoring Your Own Righteousness

Dear Christian Sisters and Brothers,

Having coffee with God can be uncomfortable because He is holy and righteous. That can feel intimidating. But God agape loves you. He made you. He wants to have a relationship with you—whether coffee is involved or not. So, how do you get rid of that uncomfortable feeling?

In Christ,

Cheryl

4 pm EDT Peace that Passes Understanding

Dear Christian Sisters & Brothers,

I’m praying for you as you find your new normal.

It’s easy to say that we shouldn’t worry. We know the Bible tells us not to worry. But how do we actually make those anxious feelings go away?

At 4 pm Eastern Time today, I’ll be on Facebook Live on the MybodyMyworship page to answer that question. I’ll be there daily.

If you are on Facebook, join me live. If not, standby until I download those videos and post them where you can find them on your own schedule.

In Christ,

Pray Righteously

Dear Christian Sisters and Brothers,

Sometimes, we are in difficult situations, trying to love others while disagreeing wholeheartedly.

You may have this situation in online discussions over abortion.

You may have this situation in your home, disagreeing with your spouse over how to raise your children.

So what is the first thing you do?

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16b)

Yes, we need to pray. But before we ask God to give us a hand, we need to pursue a righteous relationship with Him.

Righteousness is not something to strive for. Righteousness is something to surrender to.

Surrender—now there’s a word people don’t like! No one wants to surrender because that means they lose the battle.

But why would you want to be in battle with God?

  • He reverently and wonderfully knit you together in your mother’s womb because He loves you (Ps 139:13-14).
  • He has a plan and a purpose for your life, which is designed for you to enjoy  (Jer 29:11-12).
  • He wants to give you everything to finish your race well (Heb 13:20-21).
  • He works everything together for your good (Rom 8:28).

So, the first step to getting everyone moving in the same direction is to start with ourselves.

That’s what I had to do.

Many years ago, I wanted my husband to change. We were in disagreement about just about everything. I didn’t like his attitude. We didn’t enjoy spending time together.

I thought the only way God was going to change my husband was if I fasted while praying for him. I was certain that God would listen to me then.

But just hours into the fast, someone at church said, “Often we are focused on our husbands when we should be focused on ourselves.”

As my teenager would say—that felt targeted. There was a big bullseye on my heart, and that statement hit right in the center.

I had to work on me, so I filled myself with the Holy Spirit through Bible study, through giving up my self-righteousness, and through prayer for myself.

That same someone at church taught me that I can ask for more of the Holy Spirit, as Luke 11:13 tells us.

Verse 13 is at the end of the “ask, seek, knock” teaching by Jesus, but we usually read the story in the book of Matthew.

In Luke’s telling, Jesus ends his parable by saying:

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13)

As believers, we have the Holy Spirit—but if you’re living life as a grumpy Christian, then certainly you know that you could use more of the Spirit.

When we have more of the Spirit, we have more fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Do you feel
⇒ loving
⇒ joyful
⇒ at peace (that means not worrying!)
⇒ patient (even when your food order doesn’t arrive right away!)
⇒ kind (even to your barista!)
⇒ good
⇒ faithful (never substituting lattes for God!)
⇒ gentle (always saying things God’s way!)
⇒ self-controlled (even around chips, chocolate, and chai lattes!)
24×7 ?

Yeah, I didn’t think so. Now would be a good time to ask God for more of the Holy Spirit, don’t you think?

This is just one thing that we’re learning and praying for in the MybodyMyworship Group on Facebook as we worship to end abortion. Will you join us?

In Christ,

cropped-cheryl-blog-icon.jpg

Worshipping thru Life’s Challenges

Dear Christian Sisters,

How do you handle life’s challenges?

If you’ve read my testimony (see the links on the “About” page), then you know that both of my siblings have schizophrenia. The first time schizophrenia affected my life, I turned away from God and made bad, life-changing decisions, including abortion.

The second time schizophrenia affected my life, I pressed into God and learned how not to worry.

Thirteen years later—one-and-a-half years ago—my brother disappeared from his apartment in the Twin Cities. My mom and I live on the east cost. My dad lives in Minnesota. But we were on the phone together, heartbroken.

I wasn’t worried. Honestly, I wasn’t. I remember taking an inventory of my feelings because I can still today be detached. I was heartbroken. Just heartbroken. I guess I truly did learn not to worry.

“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?”
Matthew‬ ‭6:27‬ ‭NASB‬‬

We searched. We followed paper trails. We contacted people. But we couldn’t find my brother.

What could I do but praise God?

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalms‬ ‭118:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
Hebrews‬ ‭13:15‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I praised God by singing the “Doxology”:

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
Praise Him, all creatures here below!
Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts!
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
Amen.

I remembered the “Doxology” from my church upbringing. Singing it brought me peace. I made it my go-to praise song.

I was still crying. I would sing while crying.

Then I remembered “The Lord’s Prayer” in song. My dad used to sing it. He really likes a version with an African beat, but I like Malotte’s, which is what I remember him singing when I was young.

I found a phenom, Jackie Evancho, on YouTube who sings “The Lord’s Prayer’ beautifully and pretty much in my range. I listened to it over and over. And when no one else was in the car, I sang along with her.

While crying.

Can you guess what I felt?

I felt peace! Peace that passes all understanding.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I was still sad. I was still heartbroken. But I trusted that the Lord was watching over my brother.

In the last year-and-a-half, the Lord has called me into His plan for my life. It was if the Lord said, “Okay, good. You understand how to respond to life’s difficulties. Now, pick up your cross and follow me.”

God sent me to Uganda on a short-term mission trip. While there, He convicted me that I needed to change the conversation about abortion.

In the last year, He has sent me to speak on abortion and sex outside of marriage both here and in Uganda.

Then He gave me the name of His new ministry: MybodyMyworship and told me what it’s to look like. (Find @MybodyMyworship on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.)

I learned to obey Him in this last year-and-a-half. I learned to worship him in all circumstances.

Honestly, I am on fire for the Lord. I’m so on fire for the Lord that I am annoying to my friends. They are going through difficulties, real and big difficulties. My encouragement? Sing a praise song.

But guess what? Life is still difficult at my house, too.

So, I have to take my own advice and sing a praise song. Sometimes I turn on Christian radio in every room of the house to shower my house with praise.

And the atmosphere changes.

Then three weeks ago, something amazing happened. I got a phone call from a psychiatric hospital that is an hour away from me here on the east coast. My brother is there!

My brother left the Twin Cities on his own accord and ended up one hour away from me.

God.

God did that. Only God could do that.

Things are not perfect. It’s not like my brother is suddenly healed of schizophrenia. But he has a roof over his head, he has clothes, and he has food for the time being.

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

I continue to pray for my brother’s complete healing. I praise God as we wait to see if my brother will make good decisions or become homeless again.

I praise God because it’s good for my soul.

What’s your go-to praise song?

In Christ,

Cheryl