What are some of your favorite summer memories? I love to reflect on past road trips, picnics and time on the beach. But whenever I drink lemonade it refreshes me and the memory of something special.
I grew up in a steel mill town nestled along the shore of Lake Michigan. Our summers were long and hot. But my dad’s lemonade made the sweltering days more bearable. He used a simple recipe. There were just three ingredients: Lemons, sugar and water.
My two sisters, my brother and I couldn’t wait for Dad’s lemonade to chill. However, once the pitcher began to pour, the lemonade disappeared quicker than you could say, “More please.” I’m taken with the idea that three simple ingredients could taste so good.
But three ingredients are not just unique to making lemonade. From a faith perspective, there are three “ingredients” that make for fruitful living.
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 14:17 NIV
When righteousness, joy and peace stir the soul, they settle us in God’s will. I could use some settling this summer. Instead of stirring lemonade, this summer has required our country to sort through painful events in our nation and the world.
And yet, like lemons, righteousness brings a distinct flavor to the table of our lives. It means being in right standing with God. But since we all fall flat in that arena, righteousness is given to us by faith in Jesus Christ. We wear the gift as we walk in obedience to His will.
Like sugar, the joy of the Lord is sweet. The delight of knowing Him strengthens us with His love and allows us to rest in His care, even in tough times.
Like water, the peace of knowing Jesus helps us flow in God’s purpose. It brings a calm to how we function and reminds us of His victory over the difficulties of this world.
Righteousness, joy and peace are a blend of God’s grace in the soul. Each “ingredient” is a gift purchased by Christ and given to every believing heart. With all the busyness and demands of life, it’s comforting to reflect on His power and promises.
So I’m taking time to sip some lemonade and regroup. For the next few weeks, I’m taking a blogging break. I’m spending more time with family and friends, working on some writing projects and looking forward to sharing with you again.
I’ll return with a new post on August 16. I hope you’ll meet me here. Enjoy your summer and I’ll see you soon to share more hope for the heart and joy to the soul.
“God’s kingdom isn’t a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness’ sake. It’s what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy.” – Romans 14:17 MSG