The Fruit of the Spirit
Galatians 5:22,23 kjv
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
Two little boys were sitting outside in the backyard playing army men together, and they were getting a little bit bored with their play. They were brothers of about nine and seven years old. One of them idly started picking up rocks and throwing them at the side of the house. His older brother, Sammy, warned him that it was not a good idea but he wouldn't listen.
"I won't hurt anything," Billy said. "'Sides, there's nothing else to do around here anyway."
Suddenly there was the sound of shattering glass and the little boy's mother came running outside.
"Who threw that rock?" She asked, and before Billy could answer Sammy spoke up and said "I did it, Mother."
His mother believed him because he had never told a lie before, so she took him inside and spanked him. Later on when they were grown up Billy asked Sammy why he had done that, and Sammy told him "Because I love you."
Alice was a sweet young woman who was 39 years old and wasn't married yet. Many of the younger children in her church would tease her and call her "old maid". They had started doing that when she was 18 and had kept it up over the years. Alice would never get upset with the children who called her an old maid, she would just smile and say "Yep! That's me!"
She never complained about not being married but went joyfully her way, helping young mothers with their small children, and caring for the elderly people in her church and neighborhood. She was a joy and help to everyone who knew her. As she grew to be in her fifties the children stopped calling her "old maid" and started calling her "Aunt Joy". When she asked the children why they called her "Aunt Joy" instead of "Aunt Alice" they told her it was because she had the "Joy of the Lord". On that day tears of joy filled her eyes and she thanked God for blessing her with His joy.
Rosalie was a young wife and mother. She had a twelve-year-old son who was perfectly healthy and strong. One day he was suddenly struck down with Guillain-Barre. It was the worst case that the doctors had ever seen. He was paralyzed from head to toe and he couldn't even breath on his own. He was in the PICU at his hospital, and he had a breathing-tube down his throat, IVs, and a feeding-tube. He was his mother's oldest child and first-born son, dying. His mother would sit by him every day, and every morning when she woke up next to his bed and saw that he was still alive she would thank God for one more day. She didn't even cry when she looked at him and saw his pain, or noticed how uncomfortable he was, and she never complained to God for letting this happen to her son. She would sit and sing hymns and read his favorite Bible verses to him. When he finally couldn't hold on any longer and slipped away, she cried quietly for a few minutes and then said "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord."
She put on a brave smile for her family's sake and when her neighbors asked her how she was doing she would say "God has given me peace about it, and comforted me with His Word. I found this verse the other day, and it has helped a lot. It is this: 'My peace I leave with you; my peace give I unto you. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you.' It is the words of Jesus, right before he is taken away to be crucified. I have found His peace; the 'peace that passeth all understanding', and it is overwhelming."
To this day Rosalie still has the peace that Jesus spoke of in John 14:27
Jennifer Lovato was 18 years old, and she was the oldest of seven children, all homeschooled. She was a little bit absent-minded and she liked to sing a lot, and her siblings liked to tease a lot. They were very good at finding things to make fun of, and were often quite irritating.
"Eww, this soup you made is disgusting, Jenn!" Or, "Jenn, you sound terrible when you sing that song." Or, "You forgot to make your bed again ?"
But every time they teased her she would just smile patiently and say "I'm sorry it tastes bad, maybe try adding a little bit of salt." Or, "Yeah, that did sound kinda bad, didn't it?" Or, "Oops! I'd better go make it now!"
She learned to laugh at herself when they teased her, and had a better relationship with her siblings because of it.
Her mother nicknamed her "Patient Jenn", and later on her nieces and nephews called her "Aunt Patience".
Mildred Marksdale was a twenty-one year-old wife and mother. She had three little children: a three-year-old boy, a one and a half year-old boy, and a three week-old baby girl. She also had her husbands elderly grandparents living with her and her husband. Her grandparents-in-law were in there mid to late eighties, and were very weak and sickly. Her husband had to work all day so the care of his grandparents and all of the children fell on her shoulders. A neighbor would spend every other day at her house keeping an eye on the little children so that Mildred would be free to care for the grandparents. Mildred was very gentle with them, and they loved her for her tender care for them. After lingering on in there illness for several months they died together, holding hands. In their wills they left everything they had to Mildred, saying that it wouldn't even be enough to repay her for her gentle ministries to them.
"Son, come here and I'll tell you a story."
"Will it be a good story?"
"Yes, Jamie, the best story in the world."
"Will it start out with 'Once upon a time'?"
"If you want it to it will."
"Yes, I want it to."
"Alright then, here we go: Once upon a time, a long time ago there lived a Man, and His name was Jesus. Jesus was God's Son and He lived up in heaven with God until one day He looked down and saw how bad and wicked everybody in the world was, and He knew that these people would never be able to pay for their own sins, so He decided that He would go down onto earth and save His chosen people. While He was on earth He taught His people how to worship God, and how to obey Him. He also told them to teach other people about Himself and about God. And then one day He let the wicked, misguided people nail Him onto a cross and kill Him, and He payed for all the sins of His chosen ones, and carried the terrible wrath of God, His Father, on His own shoulders, because He knew that His people would never be able to bear the wrath of His Father by themselves. After He died His followers put Him down in a dark, cold tomb, and rolled a great big stone over the door. After Jesus was in the tomb for three days He rose up and went and told His disciples not to be afraid of the world, but to go out and teach the world about Himself. He told them that many of them would die for His sake, but He told them to stand firm in their faith because they would win the battle between good and evil, and He would come back someday to reign. And He prayed for them before He left to go back to heaven, because He loved them so much."
"Wow, Daddy. Jesus was a good Man, wasn't He?"
"Yes, Jamie, He was. Not only was He a good Man, but He was the only good and perfect Man that ever was."
Ellen McCoy thought that life couldn't be more perfect when she became betrothed to a handsome, godly young man. She was sure that her David was as perfect as a human could get. After they had been married for a year he came home from work and out of the blue stated that he didn't believe in God anymore, and that he was an atheist. She tried to argue him out of his strange frame of mind by quoting scripture to him, but to no avail. He only got angry at her and yelled at her, telling her that if she ever mentioned God to him or quoted scripture to him again he would divorce her. Frightened, she went to bed and cried herself to sleep, praying fervently that God would show her what to do. In the morning she greeted him as usual and didn't even mention what had happened the night before. She had decided to do as he requested in order to save her marriage, and just pray heartily for him while he was at work. A year or two later he told her that God had changed his heart, and that He had done it through her. He told her that if she had pestered him with scripture and told him that he was wrong every day he would have left her and probably have wound up dying in his sin, but that since she had just cheerfully submitted to him and prayed for him in private that it had changed his life. He called her his "true and faithful wife", and thanked God for her every day of his life.
Mandy Chett was a small-town country singer, and she would play and sing in restaurants on Friday nights, entertain at benefit concerts, sing at weddings, and do free concerts at nearby children's hospitals. People kept telling her that she should be in Hollywood, or American Idol, but she would humbly tell them that she didn't want to be famous, and that she was happier when she was close to her home. Deep inside she knew that fame would most likely hurt her faith in God and bring her farther away from her family, and she didn't want that. When people she met would ask her what she did for a living she would tell them that she played a guitar and could sing "a little". She really did not seek to be known far and wide. Because of the fact that she didn't want people to like her only for her small amount of fame she sang under the name of Miranda Chettwood. After she had been performing for two or three years, and right after her twentieth birthday, she started courting a young man that she had met at church. He was one of the newest members, and had only been attending for about eight or nine months. When he first asked Mandy's father if he could court her, she told him all about Miranda Chettwood. He was surprised at first when she told him and asked why he hadn't know before. She told him that when making new friends she didn't like to be known as the well-known singer, but liked for herself. later on when he asked her to marry him she accepted, and promised to give up performing and and be his wife instead. Her last "performance" was when she sang a song that she had written for him at their rehearsal dinner. When he would ask her during their marriage if she regretted marrying him instead of pursuing her career she would always tell him that being a wife and mother was the only "career" that she ever wanted.
Margery was a seventeen year-old girl living at home with her family. She was in the middle of seven children. Her siblings often teased her and made fun of her, and were often very rude. She was almost constantly biting her tongue in order to keep the bitter retorts down. One day she had been having a hard day and everything seemed to be going wrong. First of all her older siblings had all gotten to go visit her grandparents and spend the night, and she had to stay home and baby-sit, and then the beans that she had tried to make for lunch would not soften, the baby was having an earache and wouldn't go to sleep for his nap, and the last stroke of all was when she was trying to make a blueberry pie for a treat after supper, and her younger sister was trying to help by taking it out of the oven and accidentally dropped it upside down on the floor. She was about to yell at her seven-year-old little sister when she noticed that her poor little sister was starting to cry. She took the poor little thing in her arms and said, "There, Susy, don't cry. Let's get this cleaned up, and then maybe you can help me make another one. How does that sound to you, hmm?"
So she helped little Susan dry her tears and clean up the upside-down pie, and they laughed and chatted together while they made another blueberry pie and special memories together.