Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 9 PART 2 – Self- Control (1 Timothy 4:12)

LESSON: Practice self-control to be a good example to others

Memory Verse: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

– 1 Timothy 4:12

Lesson:

Self-control refers to the exercise of restraint over one’s actions, emotions or desires. Just as a young child is taught how to ask for something politely and not grab, it is something that is learned through practice and determination. This is because as Christians, it usually refers to stopping ourselves from following our selfish and sinful desires. It is often “easier said than done,” because it involves controlling not only our outward actions, but more importantly, our inner thoughts and emotions. This is because as the Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Bible Story: Daniel’s Training in Babylon (Daniel 1:1-21)

Daniel and his three friends were among the young men taken captive by Babylon when they defeated and destroyed Jerusalem. They were then put into training so that they may the king, and they were assigned a daily amount of good and wine from the king’s table. Daniel was far from his homeland and his family, but he did not forget his faith and the teachings he learned as a child.

“But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself in this way.” – Daniel 1:8

Daniel showed self-control in three areas of his life: (1) in his THINKING; (2) in his SPEECH; and (3) in his CONDUCT or actions.

  1. Controlling our minds or our thinking. Whatever we say or do is a result of what we believe or what we have decided in our hearts. So this is the first area that we must conquer. It is important that we fill our minds with good things and rebuke thoughts and desires that are evil and not pleasing to the Lord. We have to figure out what is truly important in our lives so that we will know what our priorities are and be guided as to what we should or shouldn’t do, or what to do first and what we can afford to let go.
  2. Controlling our speech. Daniel decided in his heart what to do and so he asked permission to do it. Notice that showed respect and wisdom in how he asked for permission. The chief official was hesitant about Daniel’s request because he was afraid it might get him into trouble, but Daniel negotiated with him to test them for 10 days before making a final decision. In this manner of controlled speech, Daniel was able to convince the chief official to let them eat only vegetables and water and not eat the king’s food.
  3. Controlling our actions. What they thought and said they would do, that is what they actually did. Daniel and his friends did not allow themselves to be “defiled” or “polluted” even if they were surrounded by pagans and unbelievers. This is the Christian challenge – “to be in the world but not of the world.” It means to be a good example of Christian living even if everybody else around us is practicing worldly living. We are called to be different and to live “holy lives,’ – we live for Jesus.

Application:

As Christians, we are to be “good examples,” and show the world how God wants us to really live. Like Daniel and his friends, young people can and should do this as well. Being young is not an excuse to live wild lives and to try first everything that the world has to offer and wait until adulthood before changing for the better. God has chosen young men and women to show the world what it means to be a follower of Jesus “in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

Coloring Page from:

https://craftingthewordofgod.com/2015/02/24/daniel-refused-the-kings-food-coloring-page/

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Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 9 PART 1 – Self- Control (Psalm 119:11)

LESSON: Self-control comes from putting God’s Word in our hearts

Memory Verse: “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” – Psalm 119:11

Bible Story: The Temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-17)

The temptation of Jesus was part of His preparation for ministry. It showed how the King of kings met His enemy, “the prince of this world” (according to John 14:30) and defeated him.

  1. The first temptation

Satan used the desires of the flesh – hunger – to tempt Jesus into using his divine powers to make bread for himself. Jesus responded by quoting Scripture, specifically Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God.” Notice that Jesus had the Word “hidden in His heart” – HE MEMORIZED SCRIPTURE — and He was able to quote it and use it at the right time.

  1. The second temptation

Satan then used a “dare” to tempt Jesus into proving the faithfulness of God. This time, Satan also showed that he too knew the Scriptures, and so he uses this to deceive Jesus by quoting Psalm 91:11-12. Satan said, “throw yourself off the temple and let the angels catch you just as your God promised.” However, Satan left out an important phrase from this verse that says, “In all your ways.”

“For He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you IN ALL YOUR WAYS; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” – Psalm 91:11-12

This is how Satan and how false teachers and false prophets deceive using quotes from the Bible. They twist its meaning and make it seem like the Bible supports their worldly ideas and choices by either ADDING or REMOVING some parts of the verses. This is why we should READ AND STUDY THE BIBLE so that we can gain a better understanding of God’s heart so that we won’t be deceived by Bible verses that are taken out of context.

Jesus replied with a quote of the Word again, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” It is wrong to dare God to “rescue” us when we just want to prove His power to do so. He is not obliged to save those who deliberately put themselves in danger.

  1. The third temptation

Satan now tempts Jesus with an “easy way” to become King. Jesus would reign over all creation as the King of kings, but He would have to suffer and die on the cross first. Satan was trying to make Jesus take the shortcut and not have to die on the cross.

For the third time, Jesus uses Scripture to rebuke Satan and said, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: WORSHIP the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” Jesus chose to worship and follow God’s will even if it means having to suffer and even die on the cross in order to fulfill God’s plan and purpose for the salvation of mankind.

            In the three attempts at temptation, Jesus fought and won by using a very powerful weapon – the WORD OF GOD. Ephesians 6:17 tells us that the Word of God is the “sword of the spirit.” It is our weapon, which is why we should hide it in our hearts through daily reading, study and memorization, so that we are ready to use it whenever we need it.

This is what “hiding God’s Word in our heart” means – to make it part of our daily life by making an effort to read and study and memorize. This is so we can have control over how we fight temptations, because God’s Word guides us to what is right and reveals to us what is wrong. It gives us the power to have self-control over all kinds of temptation, just as Jesus showed us how to:

  1. Knowing it by heart allows us to be ready to use it anytime.
  2. Studying it helps prevent us from getting deceived when false teachers and false prophets use it to make it look like the Bible supports their worldly thinking.
  3. Worshipping only the one true God means we serve Him only and we will not allow anything or anyone else to take “first place” in our lives.

Lesson 9 Part 1

 

 

 

 

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 4 PART 4 – Kindness (Hebrews 13:16)

LESSON: KINDNESS is sharing what we have.

Memory Verse:  

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” – Hebrews 13:16

 BIBLE STORY: The Parable of the Rich Fool

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did the rich man have? (an abundant harvest)
  2. What was the rich man’s problem? (he needed a bigger barn)
  3. What was his plan? (to tear down his barns and build bigger ones)
  4. Why was that his plan? (He wanted to have enough grain stored so he would not have to work anymore. Instead, he will simply relax and enjoy himself.)
  5. What happened to the rich man? (God took his life that very night.)
  6. Who benefitted from the rich man’s abundant harvest? (definitely not the rich man)
  7. What is the purpose of God’s blessing for us? Is it only for our own benefit and enjoyment?

READ: 2 Corinthians 9:8

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

GOD’S PURPOSE FOR HIS BLESSINGS

The rich man’s problem was that he only thought of himself. He clearly had more than enough for himself, but it did not occur to him to consider sharing his abundant harvest to anybody. This is not the attitude of a man with a kind heart.

A kind person does not only think of his or her own needs. Instead, a person shows kindness by sharing what he or she has. Whether it is for one’s own family or friends, and especially to those who are poor an unable to return the favor. The Bible shows us that God’s purpose for blessing abundantly is so we can be a channel of his blessings to others. If we are blessed with a lot and we only want to keep it for ourselves, then we have failed to use it for its purpose.

The parable of the rich fool is a reminder to us it is He who gives blessings, our generous and awesome God. Therefore, it is only fitting that we find and fulfill his purpose for the blessings He has graciously given us. We can ask God for wisdom in how to manage His blessings and as we follow His lead then we are able to please Him. It is a sign of our respect and gratitude for the blessings we receive.

Lesson 4 Part 4

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 8 PART 4 – Gentleness (Matthew 11:29)

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 8 PART 4– Gentleness (Matthew 11:29)

Memory Verse:

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.” – Matthew 11:29

Lesson: Gentleness is serving with love

Bible Story: John 13: 1-20

It was the day before the Passover festival, and Jesus just had supper with his disciples. Judas was about to betray Jesus, but Jesus knew that the Father had given him complete power and that He was going to return to the Father soon. So Jesus rose from the table and poured some water onto a washbasin. He began to wash his disciple’s feet and wiped them with a towel which he tied around his waist. When it was Peter’s turn, Peter objected, but Jesus answered, “If I do not wash your feet, you will be no longer my disciple.” Upon hearing this, Peter then said he wanted Jesus to wash not only his feet, but his hands and head also!

Jesus told them that those who have taken a bath are clean and only need their feet to be washed. And he also said that all those present were clean, except one, because Jesus knew one of them was the betrayer.

When he had finished, Jesus explained what he did. Verse 13-16 tells us this, “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

Points to Ponder:

  1. The act of washing another person’s feet is a truly humbling experience. During Jesus’ time, it was something that was usually done by non-Jewish slaves. But in this account, we see the Son of God himself, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, taking on the role of a very lowly servant and instructing the disciples to follow his example. Jesus tells his disciples that because their Lord and Teacher served them, so too must they be willing to show sacrificial love by serving others in the same way.
  2. The human kings that came before Jesus (and even current world leaders as well) acted superior to their subjects and ordered everyone around – they expected to be served. But Jesus wanted to show a better way to lead – and that is to be a true leader, one must be willing to humble oneself and to serve others. And thus Jesus presents to us a great challenge that can He repeats in 1 John 3:16, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
  3. Let us be reminded that “humility” is the attitude of the heart that produces an outward manifestation of “gentleness.” The apostle Peter learned this well when he remind us of the truth, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)
  4. The apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 4:2, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Truly, it all goes back to ‘LOVE.’ It is when we seek to imitate God’s love as demonstrated by Christ’s sacrifice can we find rest in our souls and peace in our hearts. The Lord Jesus himself tells us this, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)

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Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 8 PART 3 – Gentleness (Titus 3:2b)

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 8 PART 3 – Gentleness (Titus 3:2b)

Lesson: GENTLENESS (Be considerate)

Memory Verse: Be gentle toward everyone.” – Titus 3:2b

Lesson: Gentleness in this verse is taken from the Greek word “epieikēs” (pronounced as epi-yay-keis) which means “suitable” or “fair.” It implies acting in a manner that is moderate and careful; it is responding in a way that is not harsh nor quick to judge. Rather, being “gentle” in how we treat others is a way of letting God’s love flow through us and be experienced by the people around us. It is “loving our neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). It is also the same word used in the following related verses:

“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, “to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” – Titus 3:1-2

This shows us that being “gentle” means – it is being considerate of others. In other words, it is being conscious about how our words and actions can affect others, and it implies taking that extra step to be careful with what we say and do so that we do not hurt other people’s feelings.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” – James 3:17

The KJV version translates the word “considerate” as “gentle.” Notice the following similarities:

Titus 3: 1-2 James 3:17
be subject to rulers and authorities and be obedient submissive
be ready to do what is good full of… good fruit
slander no one Impartial and sincere
be peacable peace-loving

 

Gentleness is then best viewed along with these other virtues or characteristics which go hand-in-hand to show us a more complete picture of what it means to be a “gentle Christian.” It is something which we should remember not only when we are with good people; but more so when there are others around us who hurt us or cause us much stress.

Even in correcting others, the bible tells us to do it gently – because God calls us to be humble and recognize that none of us is perfect and we have “different measures of faith” (Romans 12:3). It is acknowledging that though some may seem better than others, the truth is, an honest estimate of ourselves would show us all to be living way below God’s standard – which is holy and perfect – a standard only Jesus was able to meet. Jesus actually tells us to learn this virtue from him, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29). Therefore, we leave it up to God to judge; our role is to encourage one another and to be gentle and kind and most of all, to pray that God will touch people’s hearts and bring them to repentance and belief in Jesus Christ so that they might be saved.

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” – 2 Timothy 2:24-26

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Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 8 PART 2 – Gentleness (1 Kings 19:12)

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 8 PART 2 – Gentleness (1 Kings 19:12)

LESSON: GENTLENESS (The Spirit’s still, small voice)

Memory Verse: “And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” – 1 Kings 19:12 (NKJV)

Background:

In 1 Kings 18, Elijah, a prophet of God had a “showdown” on Mount Carmel with the prophets of Baal, wherein they set up two altars and declared that whoever is able to call on their god to bring down fire on the sacrifice is the true God. Sure enough, even when 450 prophets of Baal cried out to their false god from morning to evening, shouting and dancing and even slashing themselves as was their practice when offering sacrifices, nothing happened. But when Elijah had the people pour water on the sacrifice and drench the whole altar in water, he simply prayed that God would show the people that He, the Lord, is God, and fire fell from heaven and burned the sacrifice, the altar, even the stones and soil and dried up all the water. This miracle resulted in the Israelites’ repentance and they killed all the false prophets. This also greatly angered King Ahab’s wife, Queen Jezebel, so much that she sought to kill Elijah, and Elijah ran for his life and hid in the wilderness to escape Jezebel’s wrath.

Here we find Elijah after all his running and hiding. He was feeling very much sorry for himself and he didn’t know what to do. But God had a message for him; a plan, a message and a word of instruction; and in Elijah’s case, this is how He let His presence be known.

Bible Passage: 1 Kings 19:11-12

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”

Points to Ponder:

  • When we are troubled, we sometimes want God to make all things right again and we wish for miracles to happen so that all will be well. We want to feel His presence through a supernatural experience, thinking that it is through feeling, seeing and hearing great and amazing things will we know He is with us.
  • The Lord is able to make Himself known in wondrous ways, such as fire from heaven or as we know from the history of God’s people, through the parting of the Red Sea or manna from heaven. He is able to show His glory in all it’s grandness and magnificence and with so much power that people are left in awe of His majesty.
  • But when there is a conflict inside our hearts, when the struggle in inward and we’re feeling lost and alone, God can patiently wait for us to calm down and choose to speak to us through a “still small voice.” Our God is both powerful and mighty, and yet he is also gentle. He is the God of peace and tells us, “Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).”
  • Elijah was so troubled that even a display of spectacular things such as a great wind, earthquake and fire did not do anything to change his mood. Eventually, it was God’s gentle questioning and instruction that got him refocused on what he needed to do.

Application:

  • This “gentle whisper” or “still, small voice” can be a prompting which we hear in our spirit, much like our conscience. It prompts us to act according to God’s will. God also speaks in a “still, small voice” through the Bible. Scripture is the written Word of God and when we read it while seeking God’s will, often, God answers by leading us to a particular verse or story in the Bible that can be either a word of encouragement, a gentle rebuke or correction, the solution to our problem or a word of instruction on what to do next.
  • Our God always has a good plan; the solution to our problem; a greater purpose for our trials and sufferings, and He wants to make His will known to His children. We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and be still, so that we may be able to hear God’s gentle whisper in our hearts.

Prayer: (A prayer by Fr. James B. Reuter, S.J.)

LORD, Look down upon us, this day, this hour. Regardless of what has gone before, or what will come after, give us the grace to consecrate this time entirely to You—all the actions of our body and soul.

May all the thoughts that come to us be true.

May all the things to which our hearts go out be beautiful, with the beauty of God.

May all the things we want be good.

Give us the light to see Your will, the grace to love it, and the courage and strength to do it.

We ask You this through Christ Our Lord.

Amen.

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Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 8 PART 1 – Gentleness (Proverbs 15:1)

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 8 PART 1 – Gentleness (Proverbs 15:1)

LESSON: GENTLENESS (Gentle means being humble)

 

Memory Verse:

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

 

Bible Story: David, Nabal and Abigail (1 Samuel 25)

 

David and his friends were staying in the Desert of Paran. While they were there, they were kind to the shepherds who were with them in the fields. Those shepherds were servants of a rich but foolish man named Nabal. Nabal had a wife named Abigail.

 

When it was time to shear the sheep, David sent some of his men to Nabal to ask him for a gift which he would be kind enough to give, considering that David and his men helped protect his sheep in the fields. Instead of giving a gift, Nabal insulted David, and this made David so mad that he planned to kill Nabal in revenge. When Abigail heard about this, she acted quickly and wisely. She gathered food and other supplies and went to David to make peace for Nabal.

 

With kind and gentle words coming from a humble heart, Abigail helped David to see it would be wrong for him to kill Nabal. She asked for forgiveness in behalf of her husband and through her careful gentle words, David’s heart was changed. In 1 Samuel 25: 32-34 it says,

 

“David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.”

 

Discussion:

 

When a meek or humble person decides to speak to an angry or highly emotional person, his initial goal would not be to prove who is right or wrong, but simply to show respect and kindness, even if the other person is using very hurtful words. This kind of gentleness is something that comes from the Holy Spirit, and to attempt to do it using only our own human abilities would be futile. It takes time and prayer and allowing the Spirit to mold us in order to bear His fruits.

 

In this story, we see how Abigail’s gentleness helped change the outcome of the situation. David was very angry, and harsh words would have only fueled his anger more. But kind and gentle words have a way of calming down an angry person.

 

Gentleness as a fruit of the spirit is more of an outward action, and it comes from a person’s inner attitude – being humble. Some might think that being gentle is a sign of weakness, but the truth is, it is “God’s power used in love.” When we are motivated by God’s love, then surely we can give a gentle answer in any situation and it brings the peace of God to whomever gets to hear it.

 

Lesson 8 Part 1