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 23 – A Well-Planned Encounter

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One of the greatest concerns of many Christ-followers I know is the spiritual condition of their friends and family.

Determining whether a person is a citizen of the Kingdom of God and has truly accepted Christ as Lord and Savior of their life can be difficult at times. And what do you do when you have that family member who has flat-out decided they are an atheist, God is a joke, and they are going to live their life however they want? Pray for a well-planned encounter.

 The Biblical account of the Samaritan woman from the town of Sychar bears invaluable insight. First, this lady had a need that drew her to a certain place. She was out of water and without it she would not be able to function.

In essence, her life depended on it. And even though the place she drew her water was familiar to her, the need for water gave her common ground with another wise stranger.

Little did she know that morning that she, a Samaritan woman, would be discussing matters of water with a Jewish man around the local well. Here are some revelatory words to the wise: This woman has some real tough issues going on in her life. She had a “chance” encounter with an unfamiliar face, yet, in a very familiar place, around a subject she could embrace.

In my estimation, these three elements produce the perfect atmosphere for a person to have ears to hear in a way they’ve never heard before.

So, don’t waste time worrying about why your loved ones seem so closed to the gospel. Start praying they will have a “well encounter” at the proper time.

Then when they call you out of the blue and start telling you about this great person who told them all this neat stuff you’ve been trying to tell them for years, don’t blow it!

Be ready to rejoice with them because in your heart you will know God answered your prayer!

So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” John 4:5-7

Biblical Meditation: Hebrews 13:5b AMPfor He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! Assuredly not!