Archive for the ‘Patience’ Category

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PATIENT BELIEF – May 7

May 7, 2014

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.” Psalm 37:7-9

Everyone has to wait. I don’t know of anyone who seeks to wait. We are forced to wait. We wait for the doctor; we wait in traffic; we wait in the grocery line; we wait for results; we wait for opportunities; everyone is confronted with the necessity to wait. Therefore, we get a lot of practice in how to wait well.

Alone on the train

The advent of Smartphone game apps makes waiting a little more bearable for me. I play solitaire on my Smartphone to pass the waiting moment. I will settle myself into a comfortable waiting chair and occupy my mind with a game of solitaire as I wait.

The particular solitaire app that I play has two game options. One option is a random dealing of digital cards. Cards appear on my screen from a random number generator with no reason or intention. It is  purely a matter of chance as to whether the cards will fall in such an order as to allow you to win the game. The other option is a dealing of a winning set of digital cards. In this case, someone has designed the order and placement of cards so that the hand can be won. It is a matter of stepping through the cards and discovering the design hidden in the stacks.

Patience

I noticed a pattern in my playing the last time I waited for my wife and daughter’s hunt for the elusive prey of fitting jeans. I noticed that I am rather impatient with cards randomly dealt. I am quick to abandon the game and move on to another because I know that chaos rarely allows a win.  A misplaced card will frustratingly block a stack that contains the link to successfully win the game and I will quickly give up.

Alternatively, I will patiently try to find the secrets of a game that I know to be designed. The knowledge that the game is not randomly driven, results in a surprising degree of patience. I will patiently flip through the digital cards long after I would have abandoned a random game with similar apparent barriers, because I know that chaos does not reign.

I realized that this pattern of patience in the simplicity of solitaire might hint at a wider truth. Waiting becomes difficult when we begin to lose hope that all will work out well. We are prone to act rashly when we sense the powerlessness that comes from waiting. The temptation to give up, grows proportionately to our belief that chaos reigns.

We are told to patiently wait for the Lord. There is a belief inherent in that command. Patient waiting only makes sense if there is a design behind the circumstances we find ourselves in. The knowledge that life’s circumstances are not randomly driven should result in enduring patience.

Because God is in control…

…we don’t have to fret about all that has gone wrong.
…we don’t have to fret about those who cheat to get ahead.
…we can refrain from anger.
…we can refrain from revenge.
…we know He will deal with the evil of the world.

Because God is in control, we can wait patiently for Him.

PRAYER: Father, you know that I don’t wait well.  Forgive the unbelief inherent in my impatience.  Lord, teach me your patience.  Teach me to trust you.  Teach me to wait upon you in faith.  Thank you for being in control.  Thank you for giving my life and this world a plan.  Thank you for the design that your hand has made in all things.  Open my eyes to the work of your hand in this world and my life.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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“JUST A REMINDER” – Nov. 1

November 1, 2013

“Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.”  2 Peter 1:12

Personal habits can be annoying to others.  They are particularly troublesome when they annoy even the one with the habit.  I have just such a habit.  The annoyance of my bad habit grates even more when I see it in action.

Shhh!...

I am impatient with long explanations.

I feel that if something can be explained briefly, then it should.  I have a limited capacity of daily words.  They should not be wasted.  Many times I have come home from a long day of meetings and my conversation tank has been completely depleted. I am simply out of words.

Words are very precious and should be chosen carefully.  Therefore, I get impatient when an abundance of words are expended when few would suffice.  My bad habit is associated with this impatience.  When I converse with someone engaged in a wasteful barrage of words, I try to help them.

I try to help them get to the point by…finishing their sentence.

Yeah, I am THAT guy.  OK, I know what you are thinking…I am working on it.  See, I just did it again.  I don’t like being THAT guy.  The problem arises from the fact that I am pretty good at it. The majority of the time I can identify a person’s conclusion while they are still on their circuitous explanation.  A little nudge can speed a conversation along by jumping to the point, which is exceptional for my personal environment but not great for others.

Finishing someone else’s sentence is just rude.  I know that.

I realize that restating a known explanation can often help to ensure that everyone has a similar understanding.
I realize that many people talk topics through to develop their own understanding.
I realize that some people speak their own version of Old Entish.

Treebeard in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the R...

It takes a long time to say anything in Old Entish and we never say anything unless it is worth taking a long time to say. ~ Treebeard (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers)

While I may never be a very good ambassador to the Ents, I could use a lot more patience while being reminded. 

Impatience actually reveals an unteachable attitude.  When I am impatient with what someone is telling me, I am actually indicating that they don’t have anything to teach me; that I am not willing to be a pupil.

Actually, patience is a characteristic that every pupil can benefit from. Peter viewed a significant part of his ministry as a ministry of reminding Christians of what they had already been taught.  Paul took up a similar ministry when he reminded the recipients of his letters about what they had been taught.  Timothy was encouraged to remind those he was over.  The Israelites were instructed to create monuments of remembrance.

Being reminded has always been a staple of the Christian spiritual diet.
The Christian life consists of being taught the scriptures and then being continually reminded of those principles.

We can get ourselves into trouble with the jaded notion of  “I already know that.”  If I can complete the sentence of a teacher, that does not mean I need to look for a new teacher.  That sort of impatience will become very problematic for my soul.  Many impatient and proud intellectuals have found themselves in theological dead-ends by way of their search for something new, contemporary, and relevant.

A completely new revelation or interpretation of a well known passage should be a red-flag to a follower of Christ.  If it is true, then thousands of Spirit-filled followers will have had to have missed this new, hidden meaning or the teacher of the new interpretation might simply be wrong.  My trust is in the work of the Holy Spirit through generations.  Reinventing Christian doctrine is not a new phenomenon.  Advocates for the emergence of a new way of understanding scripture and the church have always been enticing the faithful.

The ministry of reminders is essential for Christians not to be swept away by untruth.
However, the ministry of reminders requires patience and humility of those receiving the words of life. 

This patience will be rewarded through deeper revelations from the same principles through the working of the Spirit.  I have read the Bible multiple times.  I am familiar with all the stories.  I know the teachings of Christ.  I know the commandments of the law.  Yet, I benefit from each reminder that I receive from sermons, Bible studies, and my Bible reading.

I am continually refreshed by what I already know to be true.
I am encouraged to persevere in my faith.
I learn new practical applications in my life.
I am taught more about the mysteries of God.
I am shown how glorious my God is.

I am reminded that God is good, abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression and so very slow to anger.

I will miss all that by allowing the impatience of  “I already know that” to keep me from being reminded.  Patience in being reminded of what I already know is good for my soul.

PRAYER: Lord, forgive me for my impatience and how that may have offended others.  Father, keep me from a spirit of impatience and pride that thinks I already know what you have for me to be taught.  Thank you for the teachers  you have given me.  Thank you for the leaders that bless me.  Lord, I do not want to undervalue what they can remind me of through the power of your Spirit.  Give me a teachable heart that is eager for reminders.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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