Gandhi’s Autobiography


Took me a while to finish this book, but I’m glad I stuck with it. I’m no longer ignorant about M. K. Gandhi.

His writings by no means cover every facet of his life’s history; but they walk you through his thinkings, choices, and beliefs. Christianity was not something he completely embraced, but he shared insights that Christians could endorse or receive challenge. Here are a few:

  • The church did not make a favorable impression on me. The sermons seemed to be uninspiring. The congregation did not strike me as being particularly religious. They were not an assembly of devout souls; they appeared rather to be worldly-minded people, going to church for recreation and a conformity to custom.
  • Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant not the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.
  • ‘Hate the sin and not the sinner’ is a precept which, though easy enough to understand, is rarely practiced, and that is why the poison of hatred spreads in the world.
  • Service without humility is selfishness and egotism.
  • Human language can but imperfectly describe God’s ways. I am sensible of the fact that they are indescribable and inscrutable. But if mortal man will dare to describe them, he has no better medium that his own inarticulate speech.
  • You can wake a man only if he is really asleep; no effort that you may make will produce any effect upon him if he is merely pretending to sleep.

Jesus’ Offensive Prayer

(Day 10 in a 28-day series from First Bradenton)

“My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold. Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.” – John 17:9-20

This is a section of the prayer Jesus prays in John 17. It is the longest recorded prayer in the Bible, and Jesus spends it praying for us.

A few of the things Jesus prays over us in this chapter are that we would be protected, united as believers, filled with joy, safe from the evil one, and holy.

When it comes to offensive praying, I think this is among the best examples to follow in our lives. We can pray for the same things as Jesus did here! This can be a guide when we are confused, or do not know what to pray for.

Each one of us greatly need all these things Jesus prayed over us to get through every day. I particularly like how Jesus prayed that we would be safe from the evil one. We need to pray that over each other now as much as ever.

We live in a world filled with so much darkness, and people who have become victims of the evil one. We see far too many people struggling with depression, suicide, violence, drugs, and overall hopelessness.

We should pray that we and the people around us would be safe from satan and his attacks that want to lead us down these evil paths. If anyone is struggling with any of these things, you are not a bad person or a bad Christian.

But I believe that praying for the things Jesus prayed for can allow you to fight against the attacks of the evil one and become victorious over them because of the power of Christ alone!

By Frank Welch

Who is Really God Here?

When someone is attacking us, our tendency is to focus on them and their actions, even in our prayers. It is fair to say in some cases we take the actions of an enemy and make them an idol. “Look at me. Poor me.” Our prayers become all about them vs. me. With that kind of mindset, who is really God here? 

Consider what David had to say about this in Psalm 5:

But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them shout for joy forever. May You shelter them, and may those who love Your name boast about You. For You, Lord, bless the righteous one; You surround him with favor like a shield. ‭Psalms‬ ‭5‬:‭11-12‬ HCSB

David is suggesting that, because of the refuge God offers to those seeking righteousness, there should be rejoicing. Rather than focus on the enemy’s actions or words, David says boast about God. Rather than focus on the wrong thing, the wrong person, even the results of their actions, we can live in peace under the shield and favor that comes from the God of the Righteous. We must check our idol making by asking who is really God here.

Fruity Fridays: Possessing Joy

by Danny Bote 

As we are full-fledged into the Christmas season, I believe there is no other season that brings so much joy for some and so much emptiness and heartache for others. As a father of three younger children, we are still in the incredible excitement phase with Christmas. The anticipation of Christmas morning is truly great, and I love it as a father (I’m usually the first one up on Christmas morning). I truly am trying to soak up these moments and Christmas mornings as time speeds by and the kids grow up. Why? Because one day we will wake up Christmas morning to our kids being all grown and out of the house with them potentially having their own families and their own family Christmas traditions. That season will also bring me much joy, but there will also be an aspect of sadness and mourning as we no longer have a house of small children anticipating Christmas morning.

As I sit and think about joy and the Christmas season, I wonder, what does the culture define as joy? Merriam Webster dictionary defines joy as “a state of happiness” or “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” If you dig a little deeper, Webster defines happiness as “feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life, situation, etc.” What do we learn from this definition of joy and happiness? That joy is based upon our feelings of pleasure, or our circumstances. If that is true, isn’t that worrisome to you? Because you and I both know how quickly those can and do change. 

As I read the Webster definition, the part that struck me the most was “the prospect of possessing what one desires.” This opens the door to answering how you and I can have true joy. Ecclesiastes 3:11 states: “He(God) has put eternity into man’s heart…” You see, God has placed the prospect of possessing eternity into our hearts. We desire to possess eternity and true joy, but we try to fill that desire with things that are only temporary. Every single one of us is taken by this desire. We believe that if we just possess that car, that person, that relationship, that job, that number in our bank account, that child, that spouse, that house… if we just get that(fill-in-the-blank), we will have joy forever! And let’s be honest, when we get that temporal thing it does bring us a momentary feeling of pleasure and enjoyment, but what happens when that feeling or circumstance is gone? Usually, we continue to try and fill that void with the next temporal thing, which leads to more fleeting moments of joy and pleasure. And over and over we go, trying to grasp something that we just can’t seem to get. What a desperate cycle, isn’t it? We have all experienced this personally and continue to see it in our culture today. So, what is the answer to this never-ending cycle? 

Galatians 5:22 states: “But the fruit of the Spirit is joy…” Stop, read that again. Did you catch it? Joy comes from having the Holy Spirit! Possessing God himself in our hearts! If we have the Spirit of God, then that means we have the righteousness of Christ! Joy is not based on an emotion, or success, or good fortune, but on the possession of the eternal! If you received the grace and mercy that comes from our Lord Jesus Christ, then you have that which brings true joy, no matter the circumstance! Yes, it’s ok and even healthy to have feelings of joy and happiness or feelings of sadness and mourn, cry, and be upset by circumstances, but through the changing circumstances of life you can have true joy! Why? Because it’s based on filling that eternal void with a righteousness the eternal, unchanging God only provides through His Son Jesus Christ. That which truly satisfies the soul.

No matter how great or how hard the Christmas season may be for you, if you have the righteousness of Christ, you can truly say, or even sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come.” 

And if you have Christ, you have the Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit is joy.

Fruity Fridays: Joy Comes in the Morning

by Eric Vorhies

Several years ago I heard a speaker share an experience about a college basketball game that he wanted to watch. He was unable to watch it live, but he managed to record it. His plan was to avoid all TVs for the day. I also imagine that his conversations were similar to: “Don’t tell me the score of the game, and when is my next meeting?” Finally, he got home and as he was walking through the door, he thought, “I did it.” Then he was greeted warmly by his son, “Wow, that was an exciting win today dad!”

Though irritated, he was determined. He started watching the game. Like with all sporting events, some bad calls were made. Poor decisions, injuries, and deficits were suffered by his team. And that’s when something interesting happened. This experience was different. He knew the outcome. The pointless turnover was emotionally mitigated by the fact that his team would win. All the stressful moments were no match for the knowledge of victory.

Each part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, in my understanding, is a perspective shift. Joy is not about being excited or happy about the present circumstances. It is about knowing that those present circumstances aren’t permanent. Armed with the knowledge of future victory, Paul writes, “In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content.”

The theme of Psalm 30 can be found in its fifth verse: “Weeping may spend the night, but there is joy in the morning.” Today some people are dealing with weeping spending the night. The pain of life is real. You might be going through it now, or you might be going through it tomorrow. Either way, you will have those moments. But whether it is a divorce, tension between a parent and a child, or financial struggles, joy will come in the morning! In the midst of failed relationships or consequences of bad decisions, joy can be had. If we shift our perspective, we can view the poor decisions, injuries, and deficits of life as simple speed bumps on our path to eternal victory because we know, that one day, we will be in perfect union with the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

That kind of joy is the joy that the Holy Spirit is offering.

Fruity Fridays: Inside Out Joy

by Jeremy Nixon, a nobody fireman trying to do it right, but mostly getting it wrong. 

With Thanksgiving being this week, we have a lot to be thankful for. We have a lot to be joyful about. The Lord is good, even through our heartaches and our losses. One thing remains: God is on the throne and He is in control. That gives me hope and joy. 

In John 15, Jesus says that the Lord is glorified in us bearing much fruit. He calls us to abide in Him and his love. The reason behind this is so his Joy can be in us and to make our Joy full. 
Have you seen the movie Inside Out? If you have not, then you should stop reading this and watch immediately! If you don’t know me then you’re probably better off. Lol. I am a firefighter, a husband and dad to 3 gorgeous little girls. That’s right. GIRLS. I watch Disney movies and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse so much that I sing their tunes in my sleep. 

In the movie Inside Out, there are 5 distinct personifications of emotions that guide this little girl’s life: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust. Joy makes everything happy. At least she tries her hardest. Spoiler alert: In the end she finds out that they all 5 have to work together to make life memorable and full of unique experiences. 

When Paul writes about joy in Galations 5 he is talking about fruits of the Spirit, not emotions. I believe he is talking about a set of attributes that encompass every believer and, just like the movie, I believe they work together for God’s purpose! 

Joy as defined by Webster’s is a feeling of great happiness. But I like the second part even better: a SOURCE or cause of great happiness. PEOPLE!!! That source is JESUS! Can I get an Amen!?! That is JOY. He is JOY. 

If you don’t know Jesus you can’t experience pure joy. But with Jesus you CAN display JOY and you CAN give JOY to others. God is doing great things around this world, and it’s because believers are growing and getting dirty, shoveling out fresh fruit to the world. If you want to see it, then get out and get dirty. Love Jesus. Love others. Be joyful. Be happy. 

I just love what Paul writes in Romans 8:38-39…

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

That should give you JOY. 

Love and Joy work hand in hand. You can’t just be one or the other. You’ve got to be all in, and you have to let God use you and your experiences to show others this marvelous love and joy that we have. 

How are you going to be joyful this week?

Fruity Fridays: Joy in All Circumstances

The second fruit of the Spirit Paul listed in Galatians 5 was joy. According to Webster, joy is a deep emotion of pleasure or gladness. The joy produced in one’s life by walking in the Spirit as Paul is writing about is much more than just an emotion. Emotions can be driven by circumstances. A couple on their wedding day should be filled with joyful emotion. Everything has been planned to make it a perfect day. Does that mean on the unperfect days they will face together that they will not have joy? Paul is saying it doesn’t have to be that way.

Paul taught that circumstances don’t have to rob you of joy (read his letter to the Philippians). You can have inward hope and exuberance in spite of outward circumstances. That’s where we are tempted to walk in the flesh–letting circumstances determine our joy rather than our walk with the Holy Spirit. Who isn’t guilty of that?

So what does this look like, how does it work? When I think of the most joyful people I know, they have all walked through some pretty tough circumstances. And what they all tell me is that those circumstances deepened their joy in their relationship with God.

I’m thinking in particular of a couple that have two disabled children. I’ve known them for 14 years. We don’t see each other as often as we used to, but every time we see each other they have the same joyful spirit. She recently went through a cancer battle also. Have they given up on their walk with the Spirit? No, it seems by their testimony to me that it is stronger than ever. They walk a joyful life because circumstances haven’t determined their spirit. Their walk with God has produced steady, genuine, inner hope–joy in all circumstances.

What circumstance in your life tends to be your joy robber? Have you truly given that circumstance to God? It’s possible that’s your first step to this second fruit of the Spirit, to joy in all circumstances.