”By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (John 15:8 ESV)

In the letter to Galatians (5:22) it says that the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. With children’s wisdom we can say that good fruits are good things, and bad fruits are bad things.

Why did Jesus say that it’s important to bear a lot of fruit? Because we all bear fruit with our lives, some good, some bad. God’s will is that we would bear good fruit and that our lives would produce good things.

The letter to Ephesians, chapter 2, verse 10 (ESV) says: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

My daughter who had started school asked me: “Daddy, you have always told us about Jesus, but when did we start to believe ourselves?” The question amused me at first until it started to speak to me. It’s very important to tell about Jesus to children a lot because that talk starts to bear fruit at some point. It’s not easy to start doing good with your life meaning start bearing fruit. How do we glorify our Father’s name? To Jesus it meant death on the cross. At the cross He said: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:23 ESV).

In order for you to start bearing fruit for your Father, you have to die to your selfish, fallen nature.

Jesus taught about it: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:23-24 ESV).

Jesus taught that a good tree gives good fruit, and a bad tree gives bad fruit (Matthew 7:17). He promised us that when we are in Him, we bear good fruit. And when we are away from Him, we are just a dry branch that is ready to be thrown away. Jesus also taught that through repentance we can have our tree, that is our life, become good again. In the midst of all our thinking it’s good to remember a merciful starting point for producing the fruit of the Spirit. It’s enough that we believe in Jesus. Jesus said also, that where He is, there His disciples are also. “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him” (John 12:26 ESV).

The question for us is: Where is Jesus today? Is He alongside of the one who is suffering? Is He lifting up those who have fallen to the ground? Yes, Jesus is with the sinners, helping them, calling them into salvation. But where are we, His disciples? Are we there, where Jesus is? Are we glorifying the Father’s name? Are we doing what He asked us to do? Are we proclaiming the gospel to the whole creation? Are we going in the ends of the world? Decide today to get rid of your selfish goals. Instead, make your goal to glorify the Father’s name. And start to live a life of a witness, which is full of love towards your neighbor, joy, peace and goodness of God.

Isn’t that exactly what you want? Your life is not going to be easy if you decide to live it for God. But it is the only life worth living. When it ends, you can say: “I have not been damaging, but building the kingdom of God.” The fruit that we bear for God in this life, comes with us to the glory of the heaven, to eternity. All the other things will disappear.

”The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” (Psalms 23:1-2 ESV)

Who is the good shepherd in the Bible?

Jesus describes the shepherd in the gospel of John: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11 ESV). Lord Jesus is our shepherd. He leads us towards our heavenly home, in the steps that He has prepared for us beforehand.

Ask yourself: Do you lack something? The answer seems obvious: We surely lack many things in this life. But think about the question from the perspective of eternity. You notice quickly that from that perspective cars don’t mean anything, nor clothes, nor anything else that is visible in this life. None of these things can give you eternal life, only Jesus can.

The letter to Colossians, chapter 2, promises that all the treasure of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ (Colossians 2:3). All.
So when you find Jesus Christ, you find everything. Then you don’t lack anything spiritually. The beginning of the Psalm 23 assures the same: When I have Jesus, I have everything.

On the other hand, if you don’t have Jesus, you have nothing. One preacher said: The one who has Jesus and nothing else, has as much as the one, who has some earthly things and Jesus as well. Both are equally rich. We can find in our lives the treasure of treasures, which is not gold or silver, but Jesus Christ himself.

The redemption through Jesus Christ’s work on the cross and the gift of the Holy Spirit are the real treasures that every seeker can find. Sometimes it may be hard to understand that when you are in Christ, you have everything. But if you understand it, you are not afraid anymore of where the Good Shepherd is guiding you to. When we are walking towards our goal, we all meet challenges. You may need to go through a desert on your way to green meadows. Or you may need to climb over rocky mountains on your way to refreshing waters. Be a person of faith even on these testing paths. Trust that the shepherd is taking you via a suitable route to the goal.

I once drove my 7 and 8 years old children to amusement park, the trip was very long. At one point, when we had driven already hundreds of kilometers, frustration started to show up on the backseat. I had planned the route so that we stopped to eat and have breaks in suitable places, but in the last part of the trip disbelief started to disturb my daughters. “Are we going to amusement park at all? It’s really boring to sit in the car. Couldn’t we go a bit faster? How many seconds still, daddy?” When I answered: “26 000”, it didn’t really raise the atmosphere any higher. 😅

During the drive I was thinking how our Heavenly Father is carrying us towards the bliss of heaven like I, when I’m taking my children to the destination we had.
Our Heavenly Father has arranged places for us to stop and planned a suitable route. This is what we should remember during our trip. Sit in your Father’s ride and admire the view. Your trip is interesting, and even though it isn’t easy, the goal is wonderful. So have peace of mind, and accept the good shepherd Jesus Christ’s call. When He is in your heart, you have everything also today.

Think about that Jesus Himself is leading you, as we speak, towards hope, freedom, joy and love. He shall wipe away all your tears. Jesus leads you towards eternal life, and it happens already in today’s steps if you just accept to follow Him. What a joy it is to be close to Jesus!

  • Arto Boa’s devotional book, Keys –

“And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.” (1 John 3:22 ESV)

This one verse from the Bible is so full of hope, and holds such a big promise that it’s difficult to comprehend. Who could say; “Whatever.” We, as humans, would say: “Maybe some things that you ask for can be possible, but not all.”

This promise of the Bible tells us how those who love God are the richest people on earth. Not in currency, but in something even greater: Namely, in the Spiritual scale, in the promises of the Bible.

We understand that the commandments God has given to His own have been summed up in the Great Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27 ESV).

We can think that when we live in the Holy Spirit, we can live in love. And then our prayers are guided by the favorableness meaning, we can pray for the things according to God’s will, and God will answer to our prayers.

However, in life we easily notice that God is not a prayer-answer-machine. When we ask for a lottery win, it doesn’t come. Why is it so? The answer is found in the book of James: “You make your request, but you do not get it, because your request has been wrongly made, desiring the thing only that you may make use of it for your pleasure” (James 4:3 ESV).

God doesn’t answer to carnal prayers. They are not acceptable and they wouldn’t bear good fruit.

He doesn’t give answers primarily for this moment, but for eternity. When the sinful woman shed her tears at Jesus’ feet, and experienced mercy and forgiveness in that very moment, she didn’t experience them only for that day or a moment but for the eternity! She received forgiveness, she got power and was renewed for eternity! God gives eternal prayer answers because only eternal answers will carry fruit and carry true life in them.

The robber pleaded for mercy on the cross, next to the cross of Jesus. But did he receive as an answer a new life on the earth? He could have thought that release from a death sentence, a new job and a new residence would solve the problems? No, he got his answer and it was completely answer to enter to the kingdom of God! 

God doesn’t move our problems to new apartments, a new job nor human solutions, but He gives an eternal, favorable answers, that solve everything. The flesh and soul prayer requests don’t bring the solution. Only requests born out of love, which have been examined by the Holy Spirit and which bear fruit, can do that. To these favorable requests God answers powerfully. He can even move the mountains from your way when you walk prayerfully on a favorable path.

Faith is to pray for great things. We can pray for great things from God. Bring your matter in prayer asking from God and at the same time do your own part in the situation. God has a plan and wants for you.

Do the small things and leave the great things in prayer to God. Make a decision today. “I will love God and my neighbor with all my heart.” In this way you let your faith that works through love bear good deeds. Bring then in love those shortcomings to God, which you still see in yourself, and around yourself. Remember, Jesus has fulfilled all the law and righteousness for you. You will surely get everything from Him that you need.

  • Arto Boa’s devotional book, Keys –

“Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17 ESV)

There isn’t a problem that God couldn’t solve. And there is no difficulty that He couldn’t overcome. Because we know nothing is impossible for God, we can experience great peace even if there were thunder storms and losses in life right now.

God can also wipe away our transgressions, so that we can experience joy and happiness in life. It’s important to understand our situation and also God’s situation. For a man salvation is impossible, whereas nothing is impossible for God. The disciples got a lesson of this when Jesus asked a rich young man to follow Him and sell and give away everything he had. From here we understand that we can never give anything but ourselves to God. God doesn’t need our possessions. But the rich young man didn’t do this, and that’s why he went away feeling sad. After this Jesus said to His disciples: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24 ESV).

Now the disciples became distressed, and asked: “Who then can be saved?” Jesus answered that for a man salvation is impossible. But after this He gave an answer to all our problems. And it’s also important for you to understand it: For God everything is possible.

A big spiritual victory takes place in your life when you realize that all Christians around you are imperfect. They are not going to be saved because of themselves, but because of Christ’s work.

If you are like me, you might feel very discouraged because of yourself and your sinful nature. But when I noticed that also the others, who I thought were sinless at first, were as imperfect as I, I understood it. None of us can be saved if Christ doesn’t save us. It means that if you have a severe illness, you can’t heal yourself even if you eat healthily, exercise and sleep enough.

You can only be cured by a medicine that takes away the illness. Jesus told this truth to the disciples in many different ways. “Only a God’s miracle can save you, and I am that miracle of God. And only a God-given medicine can cure you. And I am that medicine.” For Jesus it’s really possible to save you. If you have encountered God’s miracle, Jesus Christ, you know that you are not an impossible case for Him. If you look at His goodness, and understand the strength of His arm, and how that strong arm is stretched towards you, you can state today: “Nothing is impossible for you. Not even I, dear Jesus.”

Nothing in yourself can inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. You need His Spirit who has created the heaven and the earth. You need the Creator’s new creative work in your life. Good news today is that through Jesus’ redemption work, the power of God’s Holy Spirit can flow into you, and make a miracle in you. For God you are not impossible. God creates in you a new Spirit and a new heart that will inherit the Kingdom of God.

How can impossible become possible? In that way that you come to Jesus today, and give yourself to Him. He stretches His strong arm to you, and nothing will be impossible after that. Nothing.

  • Arto Boa’s devotional book, Keys –

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 ESV)

It’s easy to stand for the public opinion, and on the other hand it’s very difficult to hold on to your own opinion when the others pressure you to think differently.

A Roman prefect Pontius Pilate was in charge of the court when people wanted to judge Jesus. Pilate couldn’t find any reason why Jesus should have been sentenced to death. As a matter of fact, he wanted to release Jesus, as the gospel of Luke tells us (Luke 23:20).

However, the pressure from the big crowd made Pilate change his mind. He gave in, and did as the world wanted. This is a warning for us. History has shown us many examples when the majority has been wrong.

A good example from the close history is the Nazi Germany. During the World War Two the common opinion in Germany was that people have different value. But even if the whole nation would had the mindset that the Jews have lower value, they would all have been wrong.

The majority, or it’s pressure, can’t make things become right or wrong. Only God can be a judge of that. This is why we need to seek what the will of God is and renew our minds accordingly with the will of God.

Jesus Christ is just and He will deliver justice in the Last Judgement. That’s why it’s better already now to renew our minds according to God’s will, follow the teachings of the Bible and serve our neighbors in love.

Without the power of the Holy Spirit we can never bend our minds to God’s will, but the powers and dominions of the world bend it to the world’s will.

In the Holy Spirit, however, we have a chance to act otherwise. The chiefs of the Israel’s 12 tribes went to explore the promised land God had already told about and said that it’s a good land and reserved for the Israelites. But out of the 12 spies only two, Caleb and Joshua, saw that with God’s help the land could be occupied.

The explorers of the ten other tribes brought depressing news, and persuaded the whole nation to think like them, and not the way God wanted them to think.

They described how strong the nations were, and how high the walls were in the promised land: Quite impossible challenges.

God got angry at this state of mind and attitude of hearts to such an extent that He was ready to destroy the whole nation, because their mind were control of unbelief, not by faith. Only Moses’ prayer saved the nation from destruction.

However, Joshua and Caleb kept their minds in God’s will. They wanted to renew their minds to become obedient to the Holy Spirit. That is why their stories about the promised land were different.

Caleb said: ”Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30 ESV).
Caleb and Joshua’s minds were aligned with the Holy Spirit.

You surely want to renew your mind to the same wavelength as the Spirit of the Lord?

And what does the renewing of the mind mean to you today? It could mean, for example, that you don’t look at the problem, but you look at Him who can solve the problem.

Don’t listen to the public opinion, but listen to the opinion of God. Don’t let your thoughts line up with the way the world thinks, but line up with the way God thinks. Find out today from the Bible what God’s will is, and do accordingly, and you shall be victorious!

Arto Boa’s devotional book, Keys

“And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17 ESV)

On the day of Pentecost the prophecy from the prophet Joel about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit from hundreds of years earlier got fulfilled. All the flesh means all the nations and all the people groups. In Christ God made a new covenant in which all people are involved.

Have you thought that the Holy Spirit is a prophetic Spirit? In the Spirit of God we look towards future and hope. Jesus said that nobody knows God, unless He Himself makes the Father known. And this manifestation happens through the power of the Holy Spirit and the invisible reality becomes visible.

When the Holy Spirit comes to us, we see visions where the eyes of our hearts look at the hidden world, in the Kingdom of God.

Long time ago in Israel, the prophet Samuel anointed Saul to be the king. Samuel asked Saul to come with him to the sacrificial hill, where Samuel was about to go to sacrifice burnt offerings and communion offerings. Samuel said that the Spirit of God would come to Saul, and he would go into trance.

Before this happened, the Bible tells us that God changed his heart. It is same with us:
God has to give us a new heart, new inner world, where the Holy Spirit can be poured into.

The Holy Spirit was poured upon Saul, and he saw the reality of the invisible world, and started to prophecy. The same happens to us when we accept Jesus’ work of reconciliation. Then our hearts are being renewed, and God pours His Spirit into us, and baptizes us with His Holy Spirit.

Later it says in the Book of Samuel, however, that God’s Spirit left Saul. This is a warning to us. Although God gives us a new heart and baptizes us with the Holy Spirit so that we see visions or prophesy, these fine experiences don’t guarantee that with this great experience we would walk from then on automatically obediently to the Holy Spirit.

The Bible says: “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away” (1 Corinthians 13:8).

God’s love is the anchor that holds us in the Holy Spirit’s gifts and guidance, not the extraordinary experiences. In His love God gives us the baptism of the Holy Spirit which is like heavenly honey: An experience full of God’s presence and goodness. When the love towards Jesus Christ gets glorified in you, you have the right motive for prophesying, seeing visions, use the gifts of the Spirit and proclaim the Gospel, without love, your works and actions would be just a theater play.

In this Spirit of love the elders can see the dreams of hope from the closeness of God’s Kingdom. The young ones can experience the supernatural power of God. And through the same love faith starts to affect in you the predestined works of God.

Walk in the power of the Holy Spirit supernaturally. These are the last days. Endure just a moment, because soon we are home!

Arto Boa’s devotional book, The Keys

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“..Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you..” (Ephesians 1:17-18)

When one hears these words from a 7-year-old girl living in a Russian orphanage who doesn’t have other relatives nor human future: “My father died a week ago”, one can only pray to God: “Open the eyes of the heart of this girl to see the hope that is in you, my dear Jesus. There isn’t any other hope.” This kind of situation came to me when I was visiting Russia. I lost my relationship to my own father at the same age as that little girl. I assimilated with her pain. Tears from inside of me started to come to the surface, as well as my own pain.
How could I tell her about the loving God so that she would understand it and have hope for her life?

We told the girl about the loving Father, God, who sent His own Son to save the world. We told about the amazing love of God that cannot be seen with physical eyes, but with the eyes of the heart. We told her about God’s Holy Spirit that blows life into human’s heart. It’s like a wind that cannot be seen with physical eyes, but you can feel it. Even if you search where the wind is coming from, you can’t see it, but you see the impact and the movement of the wind and you can understand its existence.

Things are very real even though sometimes we only see them with our heart’s eyes, we told them. Suddenly, when we were singing about Jesus’ love, this little girl’s eyes lit up. She jumped up, took a Russian orphanage worker by hand, and started to dance with joy. The girl’s eyes were opened, she saw hope. It was almost unbelievable! In the middle of these happenings that were taking place in her life, she was dancing with joy in the orphanage, unbelievable!

Close to presence of death, inside of grey walls, this little girl was the only one who saw hope, the glory of God. As I was watching this small dancing girl whose eyes were sparkling from happiness, my own heart broke and I started to cry. I thought: “What did that little girl see more than the others who couldn’t see?” The answer rose to my heart, shaking me awake when I heard the Holy Spirit whispering to me: “THE GIRL SAW THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL!” Wow! The girl saw the light of the gospel!

You know what rose to my heart as a message to you and to me? You and me, we can truly see the same light that is the gospel message, that is the good news God gave to us to proclaim to every corner of the world!

My friend, also today the Holy Spirit is illuminating darkness of your mind, so you could see how big of an inheritance is waiting for us. You can see the brightness of the Gospel! You can see the hope and the future, it’s possible! Gospel will illuminate your darkness. Jesus came to the world so that you could be full of hope. Satan wants to steal your hope and bring you despair. The thief has come to steal and kill. But in the Spirit of wisdom and revelation we see through the enemy’s lies, as that small girl in that Russian orphanage did.

Remember, you have a future! It’s a promise from God. You have a hope and that is also a promise from God. Believe it, God wants to brighten your darkness. When you see in the Spirit what your part is, what your inheritance is, you will be filled with joy and you can start to dance and sing out of happiness, like the little orphan girl in the orphanage in Russia.

Arto Boa’s devotional book, Keys

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purposes.“ (Romans 8:28 ESV)

It’s amazing to think that God, with His heavenly wisdom, can build beautiful things from different ingredients of life. Our life consists of disappointments, joys, sorrows, laughters and many other things. I have sometimes compared this point from the letter to Romans with a master chef’s soup ingredients: For a good soup one needs, for an example, something like: salt, onions, pepper, potatoes and carrots. None of these ingredients tastes much by itself, or then they just taste very bad, like pepper. However, when the ingredients are in the hands of a master chef, he knows how to mix every ingredient in the right proportion so the “soup” will become good and tasty.

In the same way our heavenly Father knows how much “flavors” we need to our own life’s “soup” so the outcome would be good. When God called us, He already had thoughts and a plan for us. He also takes us determinedly forward in this plan of His. So regardless of whether your life consists of good or bad, all the ingredients will work together for your benefit. Do you believe this?

God’s love has been announced to us in His Son! It’s so simple: Jesus Christ is a proof that God loves you! The Bible says: “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). When we understand the greatness of God’s love and that He loved us even when we were sinners, we start to realize how He pushes the forces of darkness away from our road so that the ingredients’ of our lives don’t perish because of the sin but we can live out the God’s plan in our lives.

Jesus was once having a meal by a Pharisee called Simon. When they were having the meal, a sinful woman came there and she washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. After that she poured expensive Nardus oil to Jesus’ feet. This woman faced two realities or “ingredients” of life; her own sinfulness and God’s love.

The feeling of her own wickedness alone would have not accomplished the change in her life. But Jesus’ goodness and love “broke” her heart, same way as the broken Nardus oil bottle poured out the expensive oil and lovely scent to the room. The same thing happened in this woman’s heart. The expensive scent of her life broke out because of the power of God’s love. She was free from her heart’s prison. The sinful woman got an experience of this “spiritual truth”: “All things work together for good of those that love God and are called according to His purposes.”

The past things of the sinful woman were not a burden or a dark memory anymore. The greatness of forgiveness and liberation turned the past to serve life in that moment. Unbelievable! All the aching, painful “flavors” of life and disappointments transferred into master’s hand and from these ingredients of life He started to prepare something amazing, beautiful and new.

Surrender to God today, surrender to Him. You need to get broken by God’s love. At Jesus’ cross there is forgiveness for your sins. You will meet your Savior there and the “pieces” of your life’s puzzle start wonderfully connect to their right places and you can experience one of the greatest miracles.

The miracle is this: God is powerful to harness even the bad experiences of your life for His use by the great power of His love. Today, you can believe for yourself that everything works for the good of those who love God.

-Arto Boa’s devotional book Keys-

“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32 ESV)

Only the truth can make us free. Even if man invented million ways to come to God, not one of them could make him free. A man’s firm decision all throughout the history has been to come to God through works. The works are our way to show God that I am good enough through some of my own deeds.

However, the truth of God’s Word says: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The deeds talk about pride. Indeed, pride is the real poison of man’s heart. Pride can hide behind knowledge as it did in the hands of Satan in the paradise. It can hide even in humbleness. Search your heart therefore: Has the freedom that you feel in your heart been obtained through hard work and knowledge? Has it been obtained through chastise of yourself, or is your freedom based on your blessings, on your work or on your hobbies? Beware of all this. Only the freedom that blood of Jesus brings to a sinful heart is real freedom.

Salvation comes only through faith in Jesus Christ so that it would be sure and enduring. Would your faith endure if it depended on your own strong will and work? The gospel’s core truth is that salvation is God’s gift to man.

Freedom sounds great. But what is genuine freedom? Is it that, that we are free to do what we want, when we want? It might be difficult to understand the content of the word freedom. The problem is that our fallen nature still seeks the freedom to do what it pleases. The Word of God warns us, however, that this kind of freedom of the flesh is the road of death. Sin could also be described in this way: Sin is wanting something that one can never achieve. Satan wanted to be God, but it was absurd to go against his Creator. Sin takes us to lust that will never be satisfied. If a man is addicted to alcohol, he has a thirst that will never be quenched. This thirst is not freedom of man, it’s slavery of sin. The Bible also says that sin is insanity. In sin, there are no sense or logic, even less freedom.

The freedom can be found from a completely different road, the road of the cross. The Bible describes it as dying for oneself. The real freedom is found in Christ. In Him there is life and the life that springs from Jesus Christ satisfies our thirst for freedom. Freedom is to rise against the sin. Because I am cleansed by the truth, by the blood of Christ, I don’t want to give myself anymore to be bound by the enemy, nor to be bound by the religious laws of tradition but I want to give myself to Christ. Then I am really free and I can do what my heart really thirsts for. Freedom in Christ is truth and life. It’s the only true freedom.

Arto Boa’s devotional book, The Keys