Archive for the ‘patience’ Category

Problems with Patience

Have you really had struggles or trials with patience?

Think back and see what you really thought during such times.

Were you eagerly awaiting something, only to discover that you needed to exercise patience?

Patience can become a problem when you have taken the ready position without any means of going forward.  Some folks can this “the waiting game.” Others shout and pout or rant and rave.  Yet, patience is what is required. 

God expects us to await and remain aware.  Some of God’s work is unfolding things in His own way despite everything being in His hands and under His control.  He may just be watching us while we are waiting, seeing if we have the patience to persist.  But patience also has its “perfect work.”

You might not like it, but it is part of how God works.  You may want to quote some biblical eloquence about how God wants you blessed or why God has all things for all His children.  However, let me allow the Scriptures to speak to that as well.

But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. – James 1:4

But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses,
– 2 Cor. 6:4
knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.- James

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; -Col. 1:9-11

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Revisit the Vision

For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
      But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
      Though it tarries, wait for it;
      Because it will surely come,
      It will not tarry. – Habakkuk 2:3 (NKJV)

You haven’t seen it yet.  Although you know it is from God and of God, you have yet to see the vision unfold.

Is something wrong?

Most certainly not.  God asserts that vision is for an appointed time.  There is no error with God’s timing.  He is perfect, just as His timing is perfect.  He makes everything to happen in its due time.  It will come forth because God says that in the end it will speak, and it will not lie.

God’s directive is for you to wait for it.  He wants you to fully trust Him in it.  He desires that you hold on as He will bring the vision forth.  Hold on with the true faith that you will need as it comes in its own appointed time.

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 1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”- Genesis 16:1-2 (NIV)

5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.”- Genesis 16:5 (NIV)

I have read it over and over again.  I think that somewhere between verse 2 and verse 5, Sarai had a major change go down with her.  Her idea to have her slave girl give both she and her husband a child soon turned their home into a very hostile household.  She was quick to say that the Lord was keeping her barren and that they needed Hagar early on, but when she felt wronged, she shifted the blame to her husband.

Be sure to note this: God never said or suggested this method in the first place.  Go promised Abraham a son.  He wasn’t promised with a caveat that required him to help God out with it.  He was promised a son of His own blood.  Sarai’s interpretation of her own barren state matches with the lack of patience that many of have with the Lord’s timing.  Usually, when we feel that the Lord is taking too long, we need to look inside of ourselves and see why we are so impatient with our “very present help.” Oftentimes, we seek to move God along, and then we find ourselves in need of more help than we need in the beginning because of what we have done.

Do you want things to run smoothly, at least smoother than they have in the past? Keep your trust in God, not you and your latest idea.  Do you think that you have an idea that will move things along a lot faster? Take it back to God in prayer.  See what His answer is today.  If His answer matches with your idea, go for it in His name.  If not, work on being a little more patient with the one who is longsuffering and exhibits lovingkindness towards his dear children.

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Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials– James 1:2 (NASB)

Can you consider your troubles as times to boost your joy? James thought so.  Better yet, James believed so.  He said it to other believers about what they endure as a “testing” of their faith.  James spoke of enduring such trials, exercising patience and evolving into spiritual maturity (James 1:2-4).  According to James, we should look at such times as times of hope “wanting for nothing.”

Think of it differently.  Look at your troubles and trying times differently.  See them as growth opportunities.  Some will call them life lessons.  Others will consider them moments of truth. Don’t get caught up on what they may be called.  Get into understanding that what you experience is to lead to your spiritual growth , eventually making you more mature in your faith.

Do mature Christians always face their trials in such a way? That may not necessarily be the case.  Look at Moses when the people of God tried his patience.  He did not just speak to the rock.  He struck the rock.  David, a man after God’s own heart, was upset when his friend was struck down for touching the ark of God.  John the Baptist sent word to Jesus from jail, questioning if He was the Anointed One or not.  Even Jesus said that there would never be one like John the Baptist, but he questioned the Messiah when he faced his pending execution.  Do mature Christians always face their trials in such a way? The Bible tells us: no.

The Bible is in our hands and is to be in our hearts.  It should serve as a reminder to us of how we should conduct ourselves as we seek to grow in our faith.  Some tragedies simply rock our world and throw us off a bit.  We need to grow.  We grow as we go through things in life that help build up our faith.  James’ instructions were clear.  Let it grow you as you face various trials in life, allowing your spiritual maturity to grow and shine.

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Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven– Luke 6:37 (NIV)

People who have been forgiven should be forgiving people.  Grace, mercy, love and patience should all intertwine in order to offer forgiveness to others.  Since God has forgiven us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, we should forgive others just as He has forgiven us.

Take into account the wrongs that you have done against God.  We call them sins.  They are the little and the big things that separate us from our constant and consistent fellowship with God.  We need to see how our interactions with others are in alignment with our professed faith and belief in God.  Sadly, we may find ourselves more out of alignment with God’s ways and His Word than we would like to think.  How we treat others may not be as glaring to us until we weigh it all in proper perspective with how God wants us to treat others.

 The dialogue between Peter and Jesus about forgiveness has been utilized out of context many times, but it opens the believer’s eyes to a new dynamic about forgiveness.   Jesus assures Peter that what may be viewed as acceptable by human standards is not what is acceptable by the standard set for God’s people.  Even if it is our own people who offend us, we should be able to forgive them countless times.  That’s not easy.

We have to understand that we have been forgiven of all  of our sins by the work of Jesus on the cross.  Therefore, since we have been forgiven, we have an understanding of having a debt that we could not pay for ourselves.  We should see that our brother or sister’s trespasses should be forgiven without our convicting or condemning them for what they have done.  We should, as forgiven people, forgive them because of what has been forgiven of us by Him.

Take your forgiveness up a notch.  If you find that hard, take it to God in solemn and sincere prayer.  drop the grudge and bury the hatchet.  There’s no sense in taking someone else through hell for what they have done against you when your Holy Father has refused to send you to the depths of hell for all that you have done against Him.

God forgives.  Be like God.  Forgive more and more.

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“God sends us the opportunities; it is up to us to seize them.” – D.L.Moody

Ministry involves being open to opportunities.  I am speaking of God-ordained opportunities, not some secular stuff.  We need to be so in tune with God that we see His hand moving in every situation and circumstance that emerges in our lives.  Our responsibility is to recognize what God is orchestrating to accomplish His intended purpose.

 Opportunities come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  Be mindful of which opportunities have strict obligations.  If you cannot meet the obligation, consider your other options.  Perhaps, you will need to partner with others to get the results that you need to meet your obligations.  The Bible is clear.  We can only truly commit where our heart has already made a commitment.

God wants you to seize the opportunities that He opens for you along your path in life.  Be careful to choose wisely and carefully.  God-given opportunities will serve as eye-opening opportunities as reach out with god works towards others whose  hearts have not already been won over by His Spirit yet.

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I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry.- Psalm 40:1 (NKJV)

I dare anyone to say that David was  not patient.  I truly suspect that David endured enough to learn extreme levels of patience as God bought him up as a shepherd boy, a man of war and a priest-like king.  He was developed as he discovered his destiny, developing patience all along the way.

David is a shining example of patience in practice.  He didn’t just offer lip service about waiting on the Lord.  He exemplified faith as he held on, awaiting and expecting God to respond to him. 

He developed patience as he was developed by God.  The patience that he would need to restrain his men from tearing Shimei to shreds would come about over time.  The patience that would allow him to mourn for his wayward son Absalom was developed years prior to losing his throne to his son.

Look at Psalm 40.  David was in a “horrible pit” and God delivered him, but the Word does not say that it was an overnight deliverance (v. 2).  The Lord even put a new song in David’s mouth according to verse 3.   Yet, David shows that he learned some things along the way, experiencing newfound endurance as he waited on the Lord. 

David learned what God desires out of those who seek the Lord earnestly.  David learned more about the truth of worship rather than the tradition of worship.  David was able to look at God’s abundant mercy and blessings and his own utter unworthiness. 

David saw that being picked up out of the pit was only the stirring up of genuine praise (v. 2).  David got fired up for praise so much that he began to sing that “new song” (v. 3).  David got so caught up in worship that he started filling the assembly of God’s people with wonderful words like: tender mercies, faithfulness, righteousness, lovingkindness, and salvation (vv. 9-11).  David was speaking from an experience that was birthed as he awaited the Lord’s response.  He went so far as to say that he did not restrain his lips (v. 9).  David learned the benefits and blessings of putting patience into practice.

But I am poor and needy;  Yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.

Psalm 40:17 (NKJV)

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Patience is more than endurance.– Oswald Chambers

Knowing that the proving of your faith worketh patience.- James 1:3 (ASV)

Patience can present a problem. Patience becomes a problem when it leads to pitfalls. You have to be careful to exercise patience to the right degree in the right situation.

Do not allow your patience to turn into:

  • Passivity
  • Pessimism
  • Procrastination

Keep your patience in proper perspective.  Do not allow your patience become a pitfall that lets you fall into a problematic trap.

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And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

You’re getting nowhere with your plans.  Yes, God gave you the vision.  You have prayed and sought counsel on the matter.  You have even shared the vision with others. And, alas, nothing has transpired.  You have put forth a lot of effort and energy.  You have exhausted all of your resources and you still appear to be getting nowhere.

The problem may not exist with the action plan and the timeline.  It may not be related to the multimedia presentations of PowerPoint after PowerPoint and message after message. It may simply boil down to fundamental flaw.  There may be an issue of faith.

The Word shares that it is impossible to please God without faith.  Is God pleased? Are you remaining faithful? Is it still on your prayer list? Have you checked back in with God… and heard from Him?

We are to walk by faith.  That is how we are to approach all matters- in, by and with faith.  Yet, discouragement feeds into doubt, and then doubt leads us to becoming dispondent and we eventually start forgetting to hold on with faith.  Don’t let that become your story’s ending.  Remain faithful and stay patient.  There is an unspeakable joy awaiting those who wait upon the Lord.

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.- Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)

  • But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength: Waiting and trusting the Lord will find “new strength.” The lord can strengthen you for what it is to come.  Let your waiting lead to your preparation as the Lord strengthens you.
  • They will soar high on wings like eagles: Let God take you to new heights and expand your horizons.  Perhaps, if you think about it deeply, God wants you to do more than what you initially set out to do.  This may be another phase to what God wants you to do His name and among His people.  Go where He takes you and extend the limits of your imagination above the haters and critics.
  • They will run and not grow weary: Focus on staying the course and picking up the pace, not dropping out of the race.  God’s promise is that you “will run and not grow weary.” Weariness leads to becoming worn out and wiped out.  Keep going in faith.
  • They will walk and not faint: Walk in faith.  Do not get faint, especially faint-hearted.  Step out in faith, taking every step on the promises of God.  When you can’t run, walk.  Just keep progressing towards what God has for you.  Every step, even the smallest and the slightest step, gets you closer to the goal.

Whether it is a building campaign or launching a new ministry or business that can’t seem to get off the ground or pick up momentum, wait on the Lord in faith.  Trust Him today.  Try to recall times when he provided and protected.  Most of all, recall and reclaim His promises.

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.- Psalm 27:14 (KJV)

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Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.- Proverbs 26:4 (NIV)
Yes, it is true that Jesus said that we are not to call our brother a fool. The caveat to that teaching is a study of context that speaks about the anger in which we use such words rather than simply inserting some euphemism that says what we meant in code. Jesus was teaching about judgment and anger in Matthew 5:22. However, the Proverbs are clear about identifying the foolish actions that separate the fool from the wise and prudent. Obviously, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, we see it as a duck. If it acts foolish and sounds foolish… It is what it is.
The words of Solomon teach us that fools act differently. In fact, Solomon teaches us through Proverbs that a fool is wise in his own eyes. Answering a fool according to his folly requires you to get on that fool’s level. In other words, what you are doing is addressing the fool by the same foolish ways that he uses. I picture it like this: a wise man and a fool get into a verbal argument, hurling insults at one another and calling each other fools. How do you identify the wise man from the fool? Exactly! The precise problem is what it projects to others, especially the fool himself. You just justified his argument to some degree by what you did in response to him. Such actions on our part kill the power of our witness.
With those who choose to go about things foolishly, I say simply show them another way by example. If they are foolish, they’ll keep doing what they’ve always done just for the sake of it. If they have any degree of common sense, they’ll see how you go about things differently and at least inquire of what makes you different. Keep in mind that you can win someone over by killing them with kindness, showering and smothering them with lovingkindness. Catch more flies with the sweet honey of your lips rather than poisoning them with the venomous vinegar.

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