February 13 – Hurry Up and Wait

patience-is-a-virtue

 As a kid, I had “ants in my pants” and I needed to dance, often. But loving parents, loyal leaders and a gracious God helped me to cultivate some crucial characteristics for living. And with them have come a few coined sayings, such as: “No Freedom Without A Fight,” “Difficulty Develops Discipline,” and “If You Plan To Stand Forever, It Won’t Take Very Long.”

 These all remind me that without patience, nothing of intrinsic value ever gets accomplished. You and I are tempted to think we know a little because we’ve experienced a thing or two along the way. But the truth is we haven’t learned much of anything at all and we still need the good Lord’s wisdom and guidance.

I don’t believe God goes around breaking His children’s ankles to teach them to obey, but I have gained a few knots on this hard head of mine when I’ve chosen to take Frank Sinatra’s advice and “do it my way.”

Everyone should read up on the first followers of Jesus. They were just like us; they were working with the brains they were given. And boy, did they misunderstand the Master plan from time to time.

But the more they walked, the more He taught; until the day came that He left them in charge of His earthly ministry. Why? Because they finally learned all there was to know? No! Because, in my opinion, they knew enough to be patient and wait (“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” Acts 1:4, emphasis mine).

Read the rest of Acts and you will see how much patience would be needed for these forerunners to focus on the promised day. Again, we are no different. If it was mandatory then, it’s mandatory now.

If you have refused to pray for patience in an effort to avoid any unnecessary tests, I do have some news for you. The test will come anyway. You’ll just end up taking the make-up test because your patience is underdeveloped.

The tests are to prove what you have learned thus far. So, don’t run from the help (The test, I mean!). Pray and embrace all that God wants to give you.

The Character First  I WILL’s for Patience:

I WILL change the things I can and accept the things I can’t

I WILL keep trying until I succeed

I WILL make the most of my spare time

I WILL not interrupt

I WILL not complain if I don’t get my way

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! Romans 5:3-5 The Message Bible

 Biblical Meditation: Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

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January 7 – Drip, Drip, GUSH!

By long forbearance and calmness of spirit a judge or ruler is persuaded, and soft speech breaks down the most bonelike resistance. Proverbs 25:15 AMP

We got off on the wrong foot. I didn’t know him and he didn’t know me. I was given a job to do and that’s all I was doing. I never meant to tick him off.

I was once hired to motivate a group of leaders and maneuver them into key and vital roles necessary for increased productivity and heightened morale. These were volunteer leaders, so I scheduled what I felt was a business-friendly meeting.

Nothing had been done like it before and many of the people were alarmed at my enthusiasm and watched me closely. But after we met, and I shared, most of them were at ease and on board…except him.

He ran his own business and was quite successful in his own right. Who did I think I was calling meetings and issuing “ultimatums” to a bunch of good-hearted volunteers?

Needless to say, my boss had a few words with me and assured me, I was doing the right thing, but I better figure out a strategy real quick to deal with the hornet’s nest I had just knocked over.

Truthfully, in part, I was a little ticked myself. I, mean, one of the main reasons I was hired was to “fix” this problem. And now, it seemed I would be hung out to dry because somebody got their feelings hurt. But I also wanted what was best for all parties involved. So I reached out to him.

I called, he wouldn’t answer. When I would see him, from time to time in the building, I would speak and he would just nod at me with a semi-menacing look. He wouldn’t acknowledge me or my meetings. He wasn’t budging and he made it clear.

Then one day, unannounced, he showed up at my office. “You hungry?” Totally “bumfuzzelled,” I stammered, “I could eat a bite.”

For the next three years, we rarely missed a week for lunch. To date, some of my fondest memories happened around somebody being obstinately opposed to me.

In life, the hard people, places and things make you better. God uses them to prove you and teach you what’s on the inside. And, the truth be told, those moments make for the best stories!

Patient persistence pierces through indifference; gentle speech breaks down rigid defenses. MSG

November 5 – Roll On!

Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed. Proverbs 16:3 AMP

Good ideas come a dime a dozen and I have dreamed up my fair share. Like when I decided after career day in the sixth grade I would become a geologist! Not a bad idea, and the monetary potential had me seeing dollar signs. However, reality set in a year later when my love for math and science was a bit waning; really nonexistent…I was too busy talking! Too funny, right?!

If you are reading this and you’re old enough to remember some “days gone by,” you, too, can attest that often we think we know best when much too often we’ve had to bump our heads to get the message. “That door is closed”!

So I share this proverbial wisdom I’ve gleaned over the years in pursuit of the “open doors” with the utmost humility. My posture, when pondering an idea or new concept or potential “door of discovery,” is patient procession. I used to accelerate zero to sixty with the new-fangled fancy racing through my mind…not anymore. Usually, the full picture is usually days from clarity and the obvious pitfalls are not so obvious.

Patience allows God time to take center stage as Author and Director. That’s what “Roll On” is all about. I make my will wait until His Will is revealed! And any time I have been so willing, the plan and the pursuit works out beautifully.

If today finds you frustrated with another good idea gone wrong, be not dismayed. You weren’t being paid to direct this show anyway. You only have a role to play. So, flip through the script and play away.

And let the rest of the mess…just roll on!