This page has various series of Daily Devotions that the Staff and members of Second Baptist have written and shared. These devotions have been for both specific times – Christmas/Advent and a January Bible Study – as well as for general encouragement and hope. 

January Bible Study

Gentleness

Galatians [5:22] “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Gentleness, also known as Meekness or Humility   The idea of being meek or humble holds different meanings to different people. Some people view being meek, gentle, or humble as a sign of weakness.

The root definition of this word is also found in Galatians 6:1 where it talks about restoring a person with a spirit of gentleness while also looking at yourself to be sure you do not fall into temptation.  What would be the extreme opposite of Gentleness? I think humiliating others and enjoying doing it.

In our society today, the people who get noticed are those with the loudest voice. Lately it seems that all of society is screaming at each other. In this verse in Galatians [5:23], we are told that gentleness is a part of the fruit of the Spirit. As the Spirit lives within us, we produce the fruit of Gentleness. What lies in the middle of these two opposite ends of the spectrum? What about snobbery, or an air of superiority? Being bossy or a know it all? Enjoying being a big man or thinking that you’re perfect? Harshness and bullying. Being strong at the expense of others.

To live out our lives with humility does not mean to lie down and just let people trod on us. To cut ourselves down to other people or to allow ourselves to be humiliated by bullies is not what is expected. But we must have this inner strength which causes us to leave something unsaid when we wish we could have said it. Humility allows us to consider the opinions of others with respect. Gentleness causes us to share about our faith with others without shoving it down their throat.  

In the book of the Revelation chapter 5, Jesus is referred to as the Lamb that was slain. In the Old Testament, a lamb was sacrificed to take away sins. But when Jesus died on the cross, He was sacrificed to take away our sins once and for all. He had other choices than to die. He could have saved Himself, but He humbled Himself in order to save us. He demonstrated that “self-control against” what He could have done. What things in our lives today do we need to sacrifice to be humbler and gentle? Do we need to sacrifice giving our strong opinion and just pray for the other person? Do we need to sacrifice the way we do our job so that we do not take advantage of others to enrich ourselves? Maybe we will drive an ugly car to use the money to help someone else. Perhaps we will take a moment to speak a friendly word to someone who doesn’t seem friendly. God help us to get this right!

As we head into the Thanksgiving Holiday it is a privilege to bring to you this opportunity for self-reflection. This series of devotions are written by Harriet Bowman and allow for us to consider the work of God’s Spirit in our lives.

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Faithfulness

Galatians [5:22] “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

These days it seems that for every occupation or activity of life you must be licensed. People begin to raise eyebrows when I tell them that I cut my husband’s hair because I’m not a licensed hair dresser. Maybe that’s why his hair is getting thinner! So now that I am digging deep into this verse and beginning to use Greek words, there may be eyebrows raised because I’m not a licensed minister either. Nevertheless, that has not stopped me yet. 🙂

To define what is meant in this verse by Faithfulness I did go to the Greek to be very sure of the real meaning of the word. The Greek word is Pistis which means Persuade or Persuasion, Belief or Confidence. Remembering that we are talking about the Fruit of the Spirit, I am concluding that to be full of Faithfulness would be to be 100% confident in our Faith in God. To be Full of Faith. Not one shred of doubt or questioning. The extreme opposite of this would be No Belief or No Commitment or maybe even further than that to work to cause others not to believe, to Disbelieve so strongly that you actively work against Belief.

When we accept Christ and become a Christian, the Holy Spirit is deposited into us. As we grow stronger, this fruit of the Spirit begins to show. We don’t start out as Christians having a strong Faith. This grows as we walk more closely with God. What evidence can we look for in our lives that our Faith is not all that it should be? What about constantly worrying about the future? Not having confidence that God has a plan for us. Not sharing what we believe with other people because it doesn’t feel very real to us. This part of the fruit is sometimes preached very differently. Used as a proof text for why we should be at church more or give more. Or it is used by some to say that we are not responsible for our faith. That God just chooses who He wants and then puts faith into those select ones. The same word, Pistis, is used in the verse which says “Faith comes by hearing.” (Romans [10:17]) and Jesus used it in Luke 17:6 when He talked about having Faith the size of a grain of mustard seed. I like to think of Faith as a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. If you don’t use it, it atrophies and becomes weak, but the muscle is still there. Let’s exercise our Faith today and watch it grow!

As we head into the Thanksgiving Holiday it is a privilege to bring to you this opportunity for self-reflection. This series of devotions are written by Harriet Bowman and allow for us to consider the work of God’s Spirit in our lives.

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Goodness

Galatians [5:22] “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

To begin we should try to better define what is meant by the word Goodness. The Fruit of the Spirit is all about who we are as Christians. If the Spirit lives in us, we will show evidence of these things. Goodness may also be called Benevolence. Not necessarily the act of benevolence, but we being benevolent persons. What would be the extreme opposite of Benevolence? Extreme Greed to the point of not caring at all for its effect on others. Wanting all for ourselves.

Benevolence is wanting something for someone else.  Being able to wholeheartedly want another person’s life to improve.  What lies in that murky middle ground where we all live? We say we are benevolent and some people have a real gift for wanting to give to others. But this is a bit different in my mind. Goodness is giving or desiring for others without any sort of a benefit for ourselves.

I am not a psychologist but I know that there are all sorts of hidden agendas for why we give to others or wish them well. Sometimes it is a form of control. People give in order to gain loyalty from others, to gain recognition for having given, or to get a warm fuzzy feeling for themselves. We may give, but not the best we have. Give but resent doing so. Or justify reasons not to help. We would certainly wonder about a person’s Spiritual life if we saw that they had an extreme case of greed. God desires good for the people He created. God’s Spirit living within us will desire the same. Let’s look at our fruit called Goodness today and be sure that we move one step closer toward giving in the way God desires.

As we head into the Thanksgiving Holiday it is a privilege to bring to you this opportunity for self-reflection. This series of devotions are written by Harriet Bowman and allow for us to consider the work of God’s Spirit in our lives.

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Kindness

Galatians [5:22] “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

True human kindness in its purest form comes from the Spirit of God. Within ourselves our attempts would be feeble. We were brought up to be kind to others, but do we always display that to others?

What are the various shades of Kindness or the opposite of kindness? I have labeled the opposite of Kindness to be Meanness. I think we would all agree that Meanness exists in many forms. Hitler killing the Jews would be one of the examples. Ethnic cleansing between Hutus and Tutsis another. Being kind to your friends and family is pretty easy. Being kind to those who agree with you is also easy. But if we have God’s Spirit living in us then our lives should be characterized by Kindness. We should be considered to be a kind person.

This fruit should be evident in our lives. We are not perfect and therefore we find ourselves in the middle ground on a lot of these things. What is in that middle ground between Kindness and Meanness? Cruel jokes, bullying, relentless teasing. Not hard to agree with those. What about idle gossip and speculation? What about constantly pointing out the flaws in others? Don’t get me wrong, I know there are times that we speak out on an issue of importance. We may do this vigorously and with passion. But somehow kindness must also be there. Disagreeing with the issue rather than shredding the person.

Kindness can cause us to still wish for an Islamic terrorist to be saved despite what he has done. Kindness can cause us to give money to a beggar and treat him with respect even though we may dislike many things about him. And closer to home, Kindness can cause us to edit what we say on Facebook. We show Kindness because we don’t just represent ourselves, but we represent Jesus if we are Christians. Let’s get out the magnifying glass today and make sure we are getting it right on the issue of Kindness.

As we head into the Thanksgiving Holiday it is a privilege to bring to you this opportunity for self-reflection. This series of devotions are written by Harriet Bowman and allow for us to consider the work of God’s Spirit in our lives.

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Patience

Galatians [5:22] “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Patience, as part of the Fruit of the Spirit may be one of the most difficult areas of our lives. We are not patient by our own human nature. We become easily frustrated if things don’t go in the way we envisioned them to go.

To define patience, we will again look at the opposite extreme. Impatience. I think that is too mild a term though. Think about extreme impatience, temper tantrum, stomping of feet and slobbering. Maybe screaming. You get the picture and most of us are not going to go to that extreme (at least not in public) J. But what lies between those two.

Evidence of Impatience is things like frustration, fault finding, spending money that you do not have. Trying to fix things under our own power. I once told a very wise friend that I was praying that God would give me more patience in the new year. She replied that God does not give us patience, but He gives us the opportunity to learn patience. That was a profound statement in my life and helped me to ultimately become a much more patient person.

We are not puppets. God is not going to just put patience in you. But as you allow the Spirit to have control over more areas of your life, patience should begin to be there. If you are feeling impatient or frustrated today, try to dissect and describe exactly what is making you feel that way. Maybe at the root of it is something that you are trying to control when really it is not yours to control. Patience should control our inward feelings as well as our outward actions toward other people.  None of us will ever be perfectly patient, but we will come much closer with that goal in mind.

As we head into the Thanksgiving Holiday it is a privilege to bring to you this opportunity for self-reflection. This series of devotions are written by Harriet Bowman and allow for us to consider the work of God’s Spirit in our lives.

Hits: 65



Peace

Galatians [5:22] “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

The third part of the fruit we should display as Christians is Peace. True and complete Peace is probably only going to come as we reach heaven. In the world there will always be things pulling us away from Peace.

To better understand Peace we must figure out what the absence of Peace would be. I chose the word Turmoil as the complete absence of peace. Maybe Utter Despair would be a description. I think this must be the feeling that a person has who does not know Christ right at the moment that they slip into eternity and realize all is lost.

What are some of the attitudes and emotions that lie between Total Peace and Utter Despair? Some that I thought of are being afraid of many things, withdrawal from life, being easily agitated, being touchy, or worried frequently.

The more we are guided by God’s Spirit, the more peaceful we should become and display that peace to others. As we try to control our life or the lives of others on our own terms, then turmoil enters the picture.

What are you holding on to today that you need to let God handle so that your life can be characterized by Peace?

As we head into the Thanksgiving Holiday it is a privilege to bring to you this opportunity for self-reflection. This series of devotions are written by Harriet Bowman and allow for us to consider the work of God’s Spirit in our lives.

Hits: 61



Joy

Galatians [5:22] “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Have you ever met someone who laughed all the time and seemed to be almost too happy? You may have wondered, “Is that real joy, or are they faking it?” In Galatians [5:22]-23, Joy, is listed as a part of the fruit of the Spirit.

Fruit grows on a tree or vine. An apple tree produces apples. The Bible says God’s Spirit in the life of a person produces fruit, Joy, being a part of that. To better understand real joy, let’s think about what Joy isn’t. What is the extreme opposite of Joy? You may say Sadness. But it’s more than that. I’m looking at the evil alternative to Joy and that is Extreme Anger or Rage. The complete absence of Joy.

Again, most people live somewhere in the middle of these 2. We try for Ultimate Joy, but other things slip in. I hesitated to even put sadness on this scale because I think you can feel sad about a situation and still have Joy inside. But I am including it because there is a sadness that people dwell on and make it a part of their lives refusing to let joy come in.

Other attitudes that are in the middle of the scale might be Irritation with Others, Irritation with our lot in life, Sarcasm, Grouchiness. We are so good at accepting these things in our lives as Christians. We might call them righteous indignation or we accuse other people of robbing us of our joy. What truly comes from God’s Spirit cannot be taken away by another person. I heard someone say that anger is a result of unmet expectations. If we find ourselves on the angry side of this scale, then maybe we need to think about what expectations we have and whether those are healthy and realistic.

Are we actually angry with God because we feel that He has not given us what we deserve?  To move toward Joy then perhaps the answer is to find out what God wants and not what we want. To let God be in charge is going to lead us toward Joy in our lives and allow us to display that real Joy to others.

As we head into the Thanksgiving Holiday it is a privilege to bring to you this opportunity for self-reflection. This series of devotions are written by Harriet Bowman and allow for us to consider the work of God’s Spirit in our lives.

Hits: 68




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