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    1. The Fruit of the Spirit is GOODNESS. Yesterday we pondered how that the utter darkness of our world is closing in on us!  Yet God has not abandoned us!  God has not forsaken us!  God is with us … strengthening and encouraging us right here, right now, in the utter darkness which is pressing in all around. Psalm 23 – “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me;  Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil;  my cup overflows.  Surely GOODNESS and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Truths from Psalm 23: ·       God is taking care of us … right here in this darkness!  ·       God restores our soul … when our souls are weary from the darkness! ·       God develops righteousness in us … so we can shine His LIGHT in this darkness! ·       God protects us from evil and darkness! ·       God is with us … right here in this darkness! ·       God comforts us … right here in this darkness! ·       God gives us GOOD things … right here in this darkness! ·       God blesses us … right here in this darkness! ·       God’s GOODNESS and God’s mercy has our back! Surely GOODNESS and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.  God’s GOODNESS goes before us to lead us!  God’s GOODNESS protects and surrounds us on the journey!  God’s GOODNESS comes behind us to watch our back! God’s GOODNESS guides our journey through this dark world!  And at the end of the journey … God’s GOODNESS will take us to live with Him forever!  Our background photo shows a staircase leading up, up, out of the deep darkness … and into the LIGHT!   God’s GOODNESS leads us home! The Fruit of the Spirit is GOODNESS!
      1. Monday Moms' Post 😃
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      2. The Fruit of the Spirit is GOODNESS. Our background photo today shows a journey through the utter darkness of a lava tube, deep underground in central Oregon. This world where we are living is a very dark, very bad place.  But God, in His great GOODNESS, has shined LIGHT in the darkness!  Jesus is the LIGHT!   If we allow Jesus to take away all of our badness and sin, the Holy Spirit will fill our lives with GOODNESS and with LIGHT! *  Jesus told us:  “Let your LIGHT shine before men, that they may see your GOOD deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”   - Matthew 5:16 The utter and total darkness of the lava tube, in our background photo today, is being brilliantly illuminated!  This is what our lives look like when the Holy Spirit fills us with GOODNESS and with LIGHT!  But not everyone wants the GOODNESS or the LIGHT.  In fact, many people do not want GOODNESS or LIGHT at all!!!   *  “LIGHT has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of LIGHT because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the LIGHT.”  -John 3:19-20 Yesterday we saw that the Fruit of the Spirit GOODNESS is directly tied to Righteousness and Truth!   (Ephesians 5:8-10)    Many people do not want Righteousness!!  Many people do not want Truth!!  Journeying through the utter darkness of the lava tube, the walls gradually start to narrow, the roof presses in lower and lower, the space shrinks, the passage gets smaller and smaller … tighter and tighter.  This is how it feels right now!  This is totally how life feels right now as we seek to live GOODNESS, Righteousness, and Truth in our world.  The darkness is closing in!  The space is shrinking!    But God is GOOD.  God WILL protect His own!  *   “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life;”   - Psalm 138:7 *   “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear…”   -Psalm 46:1-2 *   “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the GOODNESS of the LORD in the land of the living.  Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”   - Psalm 27:13-14 *   “The LORD is GOOD, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in Him.”   - Nahum 1:7 Even though the darkness is closing in, keep shining GOODNESS!  Keep shining Righteousness!  Keep shining Truth!     The Fruit of the Spirit is GOODNESS.
        1. published a bulletin

          ReadThe Ridge Community Church
          September 26, 2021
        2. Lessons in the Dirt – Always Face the Son It’s interesting to notice how sunflowers always face the sun … even on cloudy days, even in the rain with raindrops dripping from the petals, they always face the sun.   Always.   Every time I look out my window towards the sunflowers their backs are to me … they are standing tall, with their faces lifted toward the sun! How similar this is to our spiritual lives.   God calls us to always face the Son … Jesus.   If we are always facing Jesus, keeping our eyes on Jesus, our backs will be to the darkness.  Our faces will be to the LIGHT!    Others will notice!   Even if the Son isn’t directly visible;  even if it is raining! … others will notice the impact of the Son on our faces … and on our lives. Always face the Son!
          1. The Fruit of the Spirit is GOODNESS. Our background photo for today was taken deep down in the utter darkness of a lava cave in central Oregon.  In much the same way, humanity has been plunged deep down into the utter darkness of sin.    But look! … LIGHT is piercing down through the darkness!  Jesus is LIGHT!  *   John 12:46 – “I have come into the world as a LIGHT, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” The LIGHT of Jesus shines deep down into the utter darkness and changes us!  The Holy Spirit fills us with the very LIGHT of Jesus!  The Holy Spirit fills us with GOODNESS! *   Ephesians 5:8-10 – ”For you were once darkness, but now you are LIGHT in the Lord.  Live as children of LIGHT (for the fruit of the LIGHT consists in all GOODNESS, Righteousness and Truth).” The fruit of the LIGHT is GOODNESS … Righteousness … Truth!   How is it possible to shine GOODNESS, Righteousness, Truth when we are in such utter darkness?? … surrounded and constantly inundated by badness, wickedness, and lies?? God helps us!   God equips us!  ·       “May the God of peace … equip you with everything GOOD for doing His will...”   - Hebrews 13:20-21 ·        “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every GOOD work.”   -2 Timothy 3:17 The Sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God) will produce the Fruit of the Spirit GOODNESS!
            1. The Fruit of the Spirit is GOODNESS. Yesterday we considered how that originally everything in our world was Very GOOD! But as we look at the world around us today, everything is not GOOD …  heartache, pain, suffering, brokenness, anger, hate, rage, injustice.  What happened?? Mankind chose to reject God.  Mankind chose to reject God’s GOODNESS.  And as a result, our Very GOOD world was plunged into darkness …  much the same way our background photo today shows a road plunging into a dark tunnel! ·       “God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.  Everyone has turned away, there is no one who does GOOD, not even one.”   - Psalm 53:2-3 There is nothing good in us at all!  We are all plunged into the utter darkness of sin!  But God, in His great GOODNESS has not abandoned us!  God, in His great GOODNESS has provided as way to restore us and make us GOOD once again. Titus 2:11-14 – “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is GOOD.” Jesus Christ died to take away all of our badness and sin.  God removes the bad from our lives, and in replacement, the Holy Spirit fills our lives with the very GOODNESS of God Himself! The Fruit of the Spirit is GOODNESS.  God forgives and takes away our bad; and in replacement the Holy Spirit fills us with God’s GOODNESS!
              1. Lessons in the Dirt – What is Good?? A coyote has taken up residence around our place recently.  Just the other day, as I was having lunch, the coyote settled down in the overgrown brush by the garden corner and relaxed for a long while.  I’ve never observed a coyote being still and relaxing.  Coyotes are always swift and on the move. During all hours of the night the coyote trots back and forth down our driveway (the Ring camera picks it up).  Yesterday the coyote was hanging out around our back flowerbeds, right up near the house. Is this an ok thing??  When it came to the baby deer in the Spring this would not have been a good thing at all.  But now??   Do coyotes eat mice or rats??   Does the presence of a coyote have any good aspects??  We don’t know. These questions over what is good or not mirrors life these days!  Our world no longer has any standard of good or bad.  We have no idea what is good or what is bad.  Each day we are faced with decisions … complicated decisions … controversial decisions … and we honestly don’t know if they are good, or are they bad?? Just like the coyote hanging out around our place.  What is good anymore??
                1. Coyotes are scavengers and they kill rodents, chickens, rabbits…and then they call their family and friends in for a feast. Sounds like me! 😂 But to your important question…God is good all the time!
                2. What has gotten us in trouble right from the beginning called what God said was good , evil .
              2. The Fruit of the Spirit is GOODNESS. What is GOODNESS?? What does it mean to have GOODNESS?? Our study of the Fruit of the Spirit has been featuring background images which have contrasted LIGHT vs. dark.  Today’s background image shows a beautiful winding road heading into a dark tunnel.  This is a good starting place for our discussion on GOODNESS. In the beginning, when the world was brand new, everything was GOOD! ·       God created LIGHT – “God saw that the light was GOOD…”  -Genesis 1:4 ·       God separated dry land from the seas – “And God saw that it was GOOD.”  - Genesis 1:9-10 ·       God created trees, plants, vegetation – “And God saw that it was GOOD.”  -Genesis 1:11-12 ·       God created the sun, moon, and stars – “And God saw that it was GOOD.”  -Genesis 1:14-18 ·       God created every sea creature and every bird – “And God saw that it was GOOD.”  -Genesis 1:20-22 ·       God created land animals and mankind – “ And God saw that it was good.”  -Genesis 1:24-30 ·       “God saw all that He had made, and it was Very GOOD.”  -Genesis 1:31 But our world today is not GOOD.  We look around us and all we can see is heartache, pain, suffering, anger, hate, rage, injustice.  What happened?? Mankind chose to reject God.  Mankind chose to reject God’s GOODNESS.  And as a result, our Very GOOD world was plunged into darkness … just like the beautiful road in today’s background photo is plunged into a dark tunnel! Mankind’s sin ruined God’s GOOD world!    But God, in His great GOODNESS, has not abandoned us or the world the He made.  God, in His great GOODNESS, LOVES us! *  “Give thanks to the LORD for He is GOOD; His LOVE endures forever!”  -1 Chronicles 16:34  &  Psalm 118:29 God, in His great GOODNESS has compassion on us!  *  “The LORD is GOOD to all; He has compassion on all He has made.”   - Psalm 145:9