Rise & Shine Women’s Retreat is only 8 days from today!! As we’ve prepared for the retreat the call to pray over the beautiful women who will attend has become increasingly apparent this year. We prayed for them earnestly last year as well, but this year we felt God impress upon our hearts to pray for each of them specifically BY NAME.
We wanted to pray specific scripture truth over each of them…and felt directed to Galatians 5:22-25, the Fruit of the Spirit.
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! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Galatians 5:22-25
As registrations have come in, we’ve prayed for God to guide our hands to assign the names to a specific “fruit” that will be especially meaningful to that woman. Although we don’t know many of these women personally, we know God does and He knows just what each of them need. We’ve prayed that all of the fruit of the Spirit will be displayed in and through them. Then, that God will work on this one particular fruit in a very special way in their lives at this time.
Let me tell you, it has been such a blessing to pray for these dear, dear women. What is amazing to me is that while praying for them, my faith has been increased. As I’ve prayed for them to be blessed, I, myself, have been blessed, shaped and changed. Prayer is powerful because God is powerful!
That being said, I have a confession to make...I was kind of surprised when my name fell under “goodness”. At first, I though, “Goodness gracious, my name fell under goodness! Really, God? Goodness? I mean, I know I need some love, joy and peace…but goodness? I’m good, right?!” I know, I know, how arrogant of me, right?! I’m just being honest here.
Within a few moments I realized the error of my ways. I knew we had been praying for each name to get assigned to just the “right” fruit and I knew that included my own. I said, “I’m sorry, Lord. I know there must be a reason my name fell under goodness. Please show me.”
I realized I probably needed a better understanding of the word “goodness”. I sat down with the definition of goodness, “what is beneficial, being good; moral excellence or virtue; integrity, uprightness.” I looked up “moral excellence”, “virtue”, “integrity”, and “uprightness” for further clarification. Then, I looked up these scripture references…
I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness. Psalm 119:40
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:6
For the light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Eph 5:9
Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. Prov 3:27
Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. Rom 12:21
I started asking myself some questions, Do I long to obey His commandments? Do I only say and do what is beneficial? His goodness and unfailing love are pursuing me, am I really aware? Does the light within me produce only what is good, right and true? Do I help others when it’s within my power, or am I too busy to even notice sometimes? Do I conquer evil by doing good? Is my life marked by His goodness…moral excellence, virtue, integrity, His righteousness? It became clear. I said, “Oh, LORD, I do desperately need your goodness to fill my heart and life! I need more of You and less of me.”
In the past few weeks it seems everything I’ve read or heard has to do with “God’s goodness” and the need I have for it. His goodness and unfailing love are definitely pursuing me…and I’ve noticed. From an e-mail devotional titled, “Do You Hate Sin?” to a chapter titled, “Speak the Truth” in a parenting book I’m reading, have shown me even more clearly the need I have for God’s goodness…what is good, right and true.
Goodness gracious, God! You are soooo good!! You know how to meet us right where we are!
What about you? Is your life marked by the goodness of God? Can others see Him in you, just by the things you do and say? Do you speak the truth in love? Do you long to obey His commandments which means hating sin? Do the things that offend Him, offend you? Do you help others when you can and conquer (which means overcome) evil by doing good? If we have made a commitment to love, honor and serve Jesus, then our lives should be marked by the Fruit of the Spirit...His Spirit living in and working through us.
Each of the fruit of the Spirit are important, but I know “goodness” is where my name was suppose to fall on that list…and just what the Lord wanted to work on in my heart and life at this moment in time. I pray that each of the women who will attend Rise & Shine on October 30th will find the “fruit” that has been prayed over them to be just as revealing and relevant as I have.
Goodness gracious, God! You are so good! Thank you for knowing each of us so personally! Thank you for being a loving Father who wants to grow us, stretch us and love on us every chance you get! Thank you for pursuing us with Your goodness and unfailing love. Thank you for revealing to me the need for more of Your goodness in my life. Reveal to me other areas that need work. I pray you will reveal areas that You would like to work on in the lives of those who are reading this as well. Thank you for loving us just the way we are, but also loving us enough not to let us stay there. Thank you for filling me and my Christian sisters with Your Holy Spirit…and reminding us to follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
P.S. If you’re attending Rise & Shine Women’s Retreat please visit the prayer room to find out what “Fruit” has been prayed over YOU specifically by name. We’ll have cards with the “Fruit“, the definition, and scripture references to go along with it. We believe it will be just one of so many blessings in store for you that day!!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you can choose to do so today. I would love to talk to you about it firstname.lastname@example.org