Posts Tagged ‘delays’

Patience and Perseverance

July 14th, 2017

 Perseverance promises blessings but includes trials and trouble.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, Patience and Perseverance.”

Worthy goals and great dreams come true when you determine to do more than endure; choose to thrive! Good things come to those who continue steadfast and faithful. Success comes to those who prevail over obstacles and challenges. When things get tougher than planned and they will, or take longer than hoped and they do, or cost more effort and sacrifice than anticipated and it does, plenty of reasons to give up and quit will be found. Many people won’t persevere, and then they wonder why life doesn’t work as they hoped.

Though the words are used somewhat interchangeably, there is a practical distinction between patience and perseverance. Patience deals with delays. Perseverance deals with problems. Few enjoy waiting through unwanted delays and unexpected difficulties. I have heard it said, “Good comes to those who wait.” I would add this qualifier – if you stay busy, hopeful, and faithful meanwhile. Consider God’s testimony of faithful Job in his travail and triumph. “Even in all this suffering, Job said nothing against God.” Job 2:10 TEV. Patience has to be exercised in the middle of a mess. No whining. No blame. No regret.

It is always too soon to quit. Being patient is difficult enough, but perseverance introduces the added elements of trials and trouble. From experience, Paul wrote, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us. They help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation.” Read Romans 5:3-5 NLT. Both patience and perseverance require the added discomfort of enduring some troubling circumstance during an inconvenient time. In such times, don’t lose sight of your goal, nor lose faith in your God.

The Bible tells inspiring stories of people who exemplify today’s verse. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12 NIV. Abraham persevered, waiting for God’s promise of a son. See Romans 4:18-25 NIV. Daniel persevered righteously while captive in Godless Babylon. See Daniel 6:25-28 NIV. Paul persevered for years while imprisoned for his faith. See 2 Timothy 4:6-8 NIV. Paul’s example underscored his counsel, “Keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:11-12 NIV. Perseverance promises blessings but includes trials and trouble. Read 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 NIV.

Jesus sacred life and ultimate sacrifice is our supreme example. “Never quit . . keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 MSG. Jesus said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:15 NLT.

If Jesus could, and would, persevere for you, won’t you do that for Him? His promise is that you will be blessed, when you patiently persevere. “Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person receives the prize. You must also run in such a way that you will win. All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 NLT.

Today, I pray for you to value eternal blessings above earthly difficulties.

Christian Communications 2017-0937

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Ample Evidence

January 25th, 2012

“Abraham . . was strengthened in faith.” Romans 4:20 NKJV

“The obvious evidence for doubt can distract from the ample evidence for faith.”

My thoughts today are about “ample evidence.”

Faith is dynamic not static, ever changing and extending. Faith is either strengthening or weakening. And the difference between those is up to you. Faith is a very personal matter. Someone can have faith with you, but I’m not sure how anyone can have faith for you. Others can set an example for your faith, or even encourage your faith by their words and assurances, but faith is a personal experience and expression. Here’s what I have discovered. It gets harder and harder to believe a promise when delay and circumstances conspire to make you doubt the God who made the promise.

Abraham had a grand promise from God – specific, not vague. Initially, the promise seemed life fulfilling but still naturally possible, “a father of many nations . . seed as numerous as the stars of the heavens.” Genesis 22:17-18 NKJV. I think they probably started planning the nursery and choosing names for a boy or girl. Then years passed, too many years, about twenty-five years really. Now the promise seemed completely and irrevocably impossible, no natural way to accomplish their long-held dream. That’s a lot of time and circumstance to deal with when the first promise came when he was already seventy-five years old! It was a struggle believing the promise until he determined he could fully believe God. God is timeless and eternal; the passing years mean little. He minds neither man’s clock nor calendar. What are you struggling to still believe? Does something that once still appeared possible now seem unlikely?

His and Sarah’s journey had ups and downs, good days and bad, but eventually here is how God described Abraham’s faith and faithfulness, (those two, faith and faithfulness, are inseparably related, you know). Abraham “who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken . . and not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what God has promised He was also able to perform.” Romans 4:18-22 NKJV.

A promise should not be your focus; the Promise Keeper alone is where true faith seeks to rest. See Hebrews 6:17-19 NKJV. Notice carefully the conclusion of faith: “being fully convinced that what God had promised He was able to perform.” Faith does not rest upon His promise to you; faith rests solidly upon God’s faithfulness and character. “For all the promises of God in Him are ‘Yes,’ and in Him ‘Amen,’ to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV.

Abraham was strengthened in faith for two reasons. (1) He did not consider the obvious evidence for doubt“his own body and Sarah’s womb,” which presented a strong case for disbelief. See Hebrews 11:11-12 NKJV. (2) He looked at the ample evidence for faith and found that in God alone. Hebrews 11:1 NKJV. Where you are looking determines what you are seeing – things unseen and eternal or things seen but temporary. Read 2 Corinthians 4:18 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that God’s promises are sure and steadfast in your heart.

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Timing Is Everything

December 7th, 2009

“At the proper time, you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 NIV

“Life’s successes tend to surprise you, not that they happen but when they happen.”

My thoughts today are that “timing is everything.”

“There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries . . we must take the current when it serves or lose our ventures.” (William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 4). Life doesn’t happen how or when you want it to occur. Neither people nor circumstances are nearly that accommodating. Wisely, God is not either! You quickly learn that you don’t change life; life changes you, so get used to it and happily adjust.

A child does not understand the process of time. The family is not many minutes in a car before the questions begin, “Are we there yet? How much longer?” As children we expected our way at our time, and continue to assume that is the way life works, and always will work. We have a rude awakening coming somewhere along the way! We grow up mistakenly expecting immediacy – instant gratification. We want what we want when we want it. Adults who never learn better are likely to leave their friends, jobs, or even their marriages when what they expected is taking longer than they will allow.

One of the first things you should learn about life is that it won’t happen on your schedule or terms. Nor should it; nor should you demand that it does. You and I really do not know as much about how and when things should best occur as we might presume. The Bible wisely advises, “There is a time for everything . . God has made everything beautiful in its time.” Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 NIV. Forcing the time shortcuts the necessary process and diminishes the intended results.

Life’s successes tend to surprise you, not that they happen – hard work, perseverance, and God’s blessing makes that so – but when they happen, usually at unlikely and least expected times. Here’s a simple plan while you wait for what God has for you. Stay busy, be patient, and trust God to know best. Don’t be a whining child continually asking, “Are we there yet? How much longer?” Impatience reduces your effort and prolongs God’s process.

“When your faith is tested, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” James 1:3-4 NLT. Patience with faithful perseverance is a small price in comparison to its measure of success.

Timing really is everything! Do not consider process an unnecessary delay; it is vital to God’s intention and timing, if you want only God’s best. What God has planned for your life is worth any price you have to pay along the way. “The steps of the Godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Psalm 37:23 NLT. Who would expect or want anything more than that?

My prayer for you today is: enjoy the journey, both the steps and the stops.

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