God calls us to Patient Endurance “Look I’m developing Spiritual Muscles”!!

As I continued to meditate about Patience, I thought about the virtue in relation to time. It is all about time and trust. We have absolute assurance that God has good things planned for us. When we read His words in Jeremiah 29:11. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” We know God is working to make us the best we can be in Him. As the phrase says-“Good things take time.” Consider these verses:

Proverbs 25:15 “Patience can persuade a prince,
    and soft speech can break bones. Luke 8:15 “And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.” Hebrews 6:11-12 “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

In each of these verses the idea of waiting and waiting with patient expectation for godly results is expected of us. Whether it be in patient persuasion, the patience of a farmer waiting for his crops to grow and mature or the heroes of faith exhorting us to be patient in our words and actions so that they please God.

I don’t know about you but I’m not the most patient person. I’m an American and we often fall into the desire for immediate results. The idea of waiting for the results is painful. Have you ever thought about why God wants us to wait for results? He desires that we grow and develop in our faith, learn to walk with Him daily and trust in Him. All those things- growth, developing, walking daily and trusting all require us to endure and see things through to the end. The Bible calls this developing patient endurance. Hebrews 10:36 “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” God knows we have to live through things, endure to the end- we need to develop perseverance! God knows before the end His people will face great persecution and hardships. Revelation 14:11-12 “And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.” Living through that time will require perseverance, faith and patient endurance!

We each face challenges in our lives that help us build spiritual muscles. We see God’s faithfulness in our life and in the lives of those around us. We don’t have to endure all trials to learn and grow- we can observe, pray with others, and comfort them in their times of trial. If you are doing okay today, who do you know that is in a time requiring patient endurance of their faith? Pray for them, send them an encouraging note or card. If you are going through a time requiring patient endurance, ask a friend to pray for you and with you.

Look ahead with confidence and be encouraged the next time you struggle with circumstances requiring you to wait patiently for the Lord, to endure and persevere. God is building your spiritual muscles and making you stronger in Him!

Linda

Patience, right now Lord?

Patience is something God desires us to have within our character but in looking at scripture I’m seeing that God has it and wants us to have it too. There is always a function of time involved that often grates against our nature and causes us grief. It is called for in suffering and growth and is a part of life that opens us up to greater blessings from God. I am going to spend a few blogs meditating on patience as I, myself, see the need to increase this God given attribute in my life. I desire to see its fruit in my life.

First, let’s look at patience as something God desires for our character. Jesus wants us to show Him to others with patience. 1 Timothy 1:16 “ But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.” We are to be his example to the world of great patience. If that is so, then I need to ask myself, What do I need to do to show patience towards others? How do I cultivate an attitude or ability to be patient?

Paul writes in Galatians 5:22-23 about the fruits of the Spirit. These are attitudes and attributes that come from allowing the Holy Spirit to work and reign within our lives.  “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Do you seek to acknowledge the Spirit of the living God in your life daily? Do you pray with expectation and hope, knowing He can do all things? Do you seek to grow in Christ allowing Him to develop His character within you freely? Sanctification, or the process of becoming more and more like Jesus, is a life long journey. It definitively requires patience from God, or Him being longsuffering, with all of our ups and downs, steps forward and backwards! It also requires patient endurance on our part to seek to keep focused upon God and His ways in our life. In Colossians 3:12 Paul writes, “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” This having patience with others is not an option for believers. God loves us and calls us to be His examples showing His character to the world.

Meditate on your own patience today. Are you allowing God to use patience to mold and shape your character? Are you seeing progress? If not, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to be able to show greater patience in your life. James 4:2b tells us “Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.” Boldly ask God for greater patience so you can endure the trials of your life with greater joy.

I’m asking God to increase my patience and turn it to joy today.

Linda

P.S. Just as I am writing, I was called upon to show patience with someone new. A good reminder that patience is something I need to beware of and let God cultivate within me moment by moment. I want my reactions to life to show His character within me. Patience is truly required!

What Kind of Character Are You Wearing?

I love today’s portion of scripture from Colossians 3:12-14 as Paul gives us clear directives on how to live the life we now have in Christ. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Paul’s challenges are found repeatedly throughout the New Testament. He challenges us to live like we are chosen by God and dearly loved by Him. 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Ephesians 5:1 “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children.”

We are to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Philippians 4:5 “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”

We are to live with each other upholding and uplifting and forgiving. Forgiving because we have been forgiven! Christ is our example. Ephesians 4:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

We are to love one another as that will bind us together in unity. John 13:34-35 ““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 7:33 “I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

Paul’s familiar challenges call us to stand firmly in Christ clinging to His desires and promises for our lives. Though the power of His Holy Spirit, Christ enables us to live for Him and grow in character. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am enabled to live for Christ showing character that is humble, gentle, patient, compassionate, forgiving, loving and united with others.

Linda

Advent Reveals How Persistent Faith Brings Results

Another confirmation from God came from elderly Anna. She was a widow of many years and was undoubtedly allowed to live in one of the rooms at the temple used for various things. She spent her days worshiping, fasting and praying. Anna was called a prophetess which was not as common as her male counterpart, prophet, of which there were many in the Old Testament, like Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jonah…. However, she was not alone as Miriam, Moses’ sister was called a prophetess in Exodus 15:20, Deborah the mighty leader in Judges 4:4, Huldah in 2 Kings 22:14 and Philip’s daughters in Acts 21:9.

Here is her encounter with the baby Jesus from Luke 2:36-38. “Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37 Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. 38 She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.”

What does this encounter with baby Jesus show us? God requires us to be diligent and patient, persisting in our faith. Anna took every opportunity to worship and pray. She was open to hear from God about the future. Her message to Mary, Joseph and all of us about this child is one of Hope. She saw in Him one who would rescue her people. We may not be prophets or eloquent preachers but we too have a message of Hope from Jesus to tell others. God’s indwelling Holy Spirit testifies with our spirit that we belong to Him and have the Words of light, hope and salvation to give in Jesus’ name. Light John 8:12 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Hope1 Peter 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you Salvation- 1 Thessalonians 5:9 “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,”

Will you persist in faith even when things get hard? Will you lean upon Jesus as your source of eternal light, hope and salvation just as He would want? Patient Anna was rewarded with seeing Jesus and knowing the truth of God revealed to the world. Take encouragement from her today and persist in your faith with diligent prayer and worship. You too will be rewarded by God just as He promises in Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Linda

Be All that You can Be!

Ephesians Chapter 4 begins with an impassioned plea by Paul to the Ephesians to live a life worthy of being called a believer, one who in faith decides to follow Jesus.

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”  Ephesians 4:1-3

eph-4-1Paul begins with ‘therefore’ as he wants his reader to remember all the points he has made so far in his letter about unity, love, the power of God and loving and serving each other. He sees himself as a slave or bond servant of Christ.  Paul is totally committed to Christ and to them in love.  He is willing to do what ever is need to tell other about Christ and the freedom available through faith in Him.  Paul has experienced the transforming power of Christ in his life and sees the fruits of being indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  He is calling all those who follow Christ to step up and be followers in name and deed.   Paul wants the Ephesians Christians to treat each other with love, patience, gentleness, humility, giving each other the benefit of the doubt, and walk and work together in unity.   It is a tall order, but one that Paul knows they can live up to through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.

What about you?  Do you see yourself as one who serves others in humility with love and gentleness?   When you are involved with other believers and unbelievers,  do they see Christ in you?  Lent is a time of reflection, a time to examine our lives, thoughts, deeds, motives and heart.  Look at what Paul is asking through the lens of the cross.  He is challenging you to be worthy believers,  but not in your own power but through His.  Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, we are ephesians 4 2-3indwelt, empowered and enabled to act and be more and more like Jesus as we grow in Him.

‘Be all that you can be!’ is a slogan made famous by the Army.  However, it is our commander, Jesus, who empowers us to be all in Him.  Endeavor to live that way today as you seek to relate to others in Jesus’ name being all He has made you to be!

Linda

Are you seeing His Fruit?

HS fruitsBecause Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have the Holy Spirit living within me. Scripture is filled with references to His indwelling Holy Spirit. We receive His Holy Spirit when we believe in Jesus.  It is His Holy Spirit within us that gives us hope, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  These are called the fruits of His Spirit living within us.  When we see these character traits being manifested in our lives, we know He is at work within us.

Here are some assurances from God’s Word about this amazing Holy Spirit that lives within each believer:  Ephesians 3:16 “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,”  His Spirit with gives us power for living!     2 Corinthians 1:22 “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”  His Spirit is a seal and guarantee of our salvation in JesusGalatians 4:6 “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  His Spirit declares our sonship and allows us to call God our Father or Daddy.    1 John 4:13 “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.”  His Spirit helps us to stay connected to Jesus.   Romans 8:11 “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”   His Spirit gives us a His spirit to be with us forever.

1 John 4 13Belief in Jesus and His work on the cross brings the Holy Spirit into our lives.  Rejoice in that hope today and look for His indwelling work within you.  He is there-alive and working in you!  He gives us the power to resist sin, stay connected to the Father and guarantees results.  His fruit is eternal and always for our good and His glory!

Linda

HS pearSuggestionToday- look for His fruit in your lifepeace where you might not have thought, patience where you usually would be impatient, joy where you did not expect it, a reaction to a situation with kindness, a deed unexpectedly done, a gentle touch or word to another, a trust in God that is unexpected but natural, showing self-restraint exactly when it is called for- any of these are the working of the Holy Spirit within you.  Rejoice and give Glory to God.

A Recipe for Blessings

psalm 40 4Today’s blessing passage comes from Psalm 40.  David leads up to verses 4 and 5 by describing the wonderful things God has done for him and can do for us.  By the time we get to verse 4, we are ready to see how trusting the Lord can and does bring great blessing and to tell others of God’s greatness.

40 I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry      In life, David had learned to wait upon the Lord patiently even when it was hard.  He experienced God’s hearing his pleas for help and His rescues personally as he waited 14 years to be king while running and hiding from Saul.  Is God asking you to wait patiently today?                  He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.             David had been rescued by God from Saul, the Philistines and from his own sinful mistakes multiple times, and he had experienced God’s restoration both physically and spiritually.  Is this your story too?
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.    David praised God for keeping him and giving him a new song of praise to sing, and he is calling others to put their trust in his saving God.  If you could name your new song from God, what would be the title?

Blessed is the man who makes
    the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
    to those who go astray after a lie!   Here David reaches the conclusion that one who trusts in God and not worldly things or advice is and will be truly blessed.  Trusting God leads to wholeness in life.
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
    your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
    none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
    yet they are more than can be told.      Lastly, David praises God for His grace, mercy, blessings and acts towards us. Even if we started now and praised all day long we could never tell of all the wonderful things God has done on our behalf.  We are truly blessed by Almighty God and no one or nothing can compare to Him!

The first 5 verses of this Psalm are all about blessings David experienced first hand and so can we.  God listens and desires that we wait patiently for His perfect timing.  God will lift us out of hard circumstances in life and set us upon solid ground if we will place our trust in Him.  He will give us a new song to sing as we walk with Him day by day.  We will be blessed by trusting in Him and not looking elsewhere for our direction and guidance.  God has given and will give us abundant blessings for walking in trust and faith.

today blessingWhat a wonderful recipe for success in life– patience in listening, trusting God to rescue and provide, singing His song, looking to Him for guidance and advice and telling about His goodness.  Will you make this your intent today?   Look for blessings if you do!

Linda