Patience

 The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God’s word].
It is good that one should hope in and wait quietly for the salvation (the safety and ease) of the Lord. -Lamentations 3:25-26 (AMP)

As a child, patience was definitely something that alluded me (as it does most children). I wish I had a nickel for every time I asked my parents for an e.t.a. for anywhere we might happen to be going. Then there were times of enormous wait for things such as Christmas morning, when we knew as kids we would be rewarded with all sorts of neat things– previously unavailable to us during the year. While those times of waiting might have seemed like torture to a child, there were obvious tangible results at hand that I knew [in the back of my mind] would soon be realized. Now, as an adult, much has changed in some ways and, in others, not much.

Fast-forward from those childhood days in the back of my parent’s 1960 Ford sedan to the present day, well over a half-century later. Time has “marched on,” and so has my impatience– in some ways. However, I have (over the course of time) gained a modest amount of patience– as I have been around long enough to see the rewards to people who wait on God and seek His will for their lives.

I love how the Amplified Bible puts it: “require Him by right of necessity…” Truly, as time marches on, I realize that God is much more than a luxury or convenience– He is a necessity in my life. Always.

The devil made me do it…

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. -James 4:7 (ESV)

I can’t remember how many times I have heard the words “the devil made me do it” used as an excuse for bad behavior. Usually it is said in jest– and, if said at all, should never be seriously used as an excuse by any member of God’s family. We have a power at our disposal that no earthly or evil power can ever rival: the name of Jesus and the power of His blood!

Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name,
That in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
And every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. -Philippians 2:9-11 (AMP)

It has been said that Satan trembles when even the lowliest of Christians gets down on his knees and prays in the name of Jesus. I know one thing for sure: that name carries power that the devil will flee from! Confess frankly and openly, as the Amplified Bible puts it, that Jesus is Lord and you will be kept safe from the devil.

Don’t You Worry About A Thing…

Consider the ravens: They don’t sow or reap; they don’t have a storeroom or a barn; yet God feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than the birds? Can any of you add a cubit to his height by worrying? If then you’re not able to do even a little thing, why worry about the rest?

“Consider how the wildflowers grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass, which is in the field today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will He do for you—you of little faith? Don’t keep striving for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious. For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.

“But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided for you. -Luke 12:24-31 (HCSB)

There’s a large measure of comfort in these verses, but also an admonition to seek God’s kingdom first. To just sit back and wait for God to serve you like a waiter in a restaurant isn’t going to work. If I act like a child at Christmas time, making my list of things I want (my “gimme list,” so to speak) without so much as a care for the one whose birthday is supposed to be celebrated, I really can’t expect much from God. We reap what we sow. Personally, I think we reap far more than we sow, if we sow good things for the kingdom of God.

What a wonderful life it would be if I were to tune into God through constant prayer and walk with Him each and every moment of the day. Worry would be non-existent. As it is, with what little I do in prayer and study of His Word, my life seems like it has improved 100% in regard to stress and anxiety!

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. -John 14:27 (NKJV)

Uncertainty

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. -1 John 4:18 (NKJV)

Most of us have heard the expression “when one door closes, another one opens.” It’s usually said to us by a friend right after a door has shut in our lives. It seems that my wife has reached one of those moments where a door has closed in her life and there is some uncertainty as to when and where the next door will open. I recently watched Rick Warren (Saddleback Church) teaching on the subject of worry. One of the things that struck me was the simple fact that worry is a choicenot a necessity. While I cannot speak for God in all things (only what He makes clear through His Word), I suspect He gets pretty sad when He sees His children worry after He has promised to take care of them.

I share my wife’s concern as what happens to her affects me on many levels. Although not to the same degree, I still have concerns that I must learn to leave in the hands of my Father. As her husband, I am obligated (and privileged) to share her burdens and be as supportive as humanly possible. What we face together is the unknown. How has that changed since yesterday? It hasn’t. We face the unknown each and every day. When we encounter tragedy in our lives, I am sure that we don’t normally have any idea that it’s on the agenda for the day. As a Christian, I know that what must be on my agenda each and every day: prayer and time with God in His Word. Spending time with God will remind me of His love for me and increase my love for Him.

Is God Fair?

How long, Lord, must I call for help
and You do not listen
or cry out to You about violence
and You do not save?
Why do You force me to look at injustice?
Why do You tolerate wrongdoing?
Oppression and violence are right in front of me.
Strife is ongoing, and conflict escalates.
This is why the law is ineffective
and justice never emerges.
For the wicked restrict the righteous;
therefore, justice comes out perverted

-Habakkuk 1:2-4 (HCSB)

Recently, I heard a preacher on the radio teaching from the book of Habakkuk. As he taught on the fairness of God, I realized that it was something I need to be constantly reminded of in my Christian walk. What seems unfair to me is not always unfair– especially if it comes from God. My sense of “fairness” is limited to my human understanding.

I never gave much thought to the book of Habakkuk, to be honest. It’s one of those short books near the end of the Old Testament that doesn’t get quoted a whole lot. It doesn’t offer elegant, comforting promises like one will easily find in the book of Romans. However, if it is in the Bible, then it is important that I read it and make it a part of my life as I walk with Jesus. Once again, I find myself surprised by the uncanny ability of Scripture to strike me where I live and convict me of things I must work on in myself as a child of the most high God. Speaking of Romans, I know that if I persevere, good things will happen. I must remember that God’s calendar and mine are not always the same.

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. -Romans 8:28 (HCSB)

Affordable Education

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. -James 1:5 (HCSB)

It’s almost election time here in Connecticut and one of the issues that is apparently up for discussion/debate is that of education. Specifically, I believe it is about improving the quality of it in our public schools. Of course, affordable college education is also a hot topic of discussion– as more and more young people abandon the idea of being able to afford an institution of higher learning.

While I’m all for education and think we’d probably be better off if more people had some of it. I also must say that it depends on what exactly that education is. Much of today’s secular education is very one-sided and prone to agree more with the popular thought and philosophy of the day than it is with the tried and true facts of history.

God makes us this offer through His Word for an education that is tried and true and offers eternal benefits. it’s about more than preparing the student for a career, it’s about preparing us for eternity. By the way, I’m not just talking about the “sweet bye and bye” either. Eternity begins right here and now when we accept the Lord Jesus as our Savior. My prayer is that a wonderful eternity has begun for you!

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline. -Proverbs 1:7 (HCSB)                                      

Daily Quiet Time

The plans of the diligent certainly lead to profit,
but anyone who is reckless certainly becomes poor. -Proverbs 21:5 (HCSB)

dil·i·gence1
ˈdiləjəns/
noun
  1. careful and persistent work or effort.
    synonyms: conscientiousness, assiduousness, assiduity, hard work, application,concentration, effort, care, industriousness, rigor, meticulousness,thoroughness; More

I get daily email messages from Rick Warren’s organization and today’s dealt with what it means to spend daily time in quiet study of God’s Word and reflection on its meaning for you in your life. I can tell you that, since I personally started doing that a couple of years ago, it is a discipline that has really paid off in my life. I encourage the reader to read his Word and meditate on it each and every day (first thing). I have come to really cherish my morning quiet time with my Lord, the Bible and a good cup of coffee. It sure beats awakening to anger, worry and frustration as I tried to orchestrate my life on my own for so long. A small amount of diligence in beginning your day will take you a long way.