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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


Daily Boost

April 30, 2014 - The Spiritual Fruit of Goodness

By William E. Richardson

"But the fruit of the Spirit is ... goodness" (Galatians 5:22, NASB).

The Bible names thousands of people. Which ones belong at the top of a list of those who were most "good"?

I'll tell you a few I'd send toward the bottom: Cain (the first murderer, who killed his own brother), Herod the Great (the baby killer who wanted to eliminate the infant Jesus), Ahab and Jezebel (who turned Israel to Baal worship), and Manasseh (who replaced Ahab as the most wicked Jewish king).

From Jesus' followers named in the New Testament, it's easy to rank the apostle Paul at the top of a "good" list. He let God transform him from a persecutor of Christians to a preacher of Christianity. He blazed the trial as leader of the first missionary team. While spreading the gospel throughout Asia and Europe, Paul wrote half the New Testament.

But according to Paul, he doesn't belong at the top. The great Christian leader admitted that acts of goodness he knew he should do did not come naturally. However, he found it easy to do things he knew he shouldn't (Romans 7:15). He then stated the problem. He had no inherent goodness. He had the desire, but not the ability (verse 18).

Of course Paul performed plenty of good acts. But what was his dilemma? What is our dilemma? Three people in the New Testament are singled out as "good." Let's see what they have in common.

There's Joseph of Arimathaea. Luke 23:50, calls him "a good and righteous man." This member of the Jewish counsel did not consent to Jesus' death. He listened to his conscience rather than bending to peer pressure. After the Crucifixion, Joseph went to Pilate, requested the Lord's body, and gave Jesus a proper burial in his own tomb.

In the Book of Acts we meet Dorcas, also known as Tabitha. Acts 9:36 says she was "full of good works and charitable deeds" (NKJV). Dorcas cared for the poor. She made dresses for women of Joppa who couldn't afford them. As a Christian, Dorcas saw a need and met it.

Acts 11:24 calls Barnabas "a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith" (NIV). Barnabas had a knack for encouraging others. He believed in and stood with people no one else would, including the future apostle Paul. Barnabas was willing to encourage others to become their best.

Joseph, Dorcas, and Barnabas were not inherently good. Their deeds were spiritual fruit that grew by letting the Holy Spirit work through them. The Spirit brought needs to their attention. They cared. He directed their steps. Our part is to be good listeners for the Holy Spirit's voice and be good at obeying.

May you bear abundant fruit of goodness today.

— William E. Richardson is senior pastor of Afton (Iowa) Assembly of God and blogs at




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