Thursday, July 3, 2008

232d Birthday of the USA

Good Morning:

As we celebrate the 232d birthday of our great country, and exercise the freedoms we enjoy, you may be interested in knowing more about the religious heritage of our nation. I think you will enjoy this exhibit from the Library of Congress. Please click on the following website, enjoy, and be thankful. . . .

I recommend it highly for your reading as you contemplate the state of the country now as compared to how the founding fathers embraced their faith and incorporated it into our government.

Dotse and I wish for you and your family a most enjoyable and safe Independence Day! May God bless you and your loved ones.

Love, Jerry & Dotse

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Developing Patience

Chuckle: Jonah's Mother: "That's a nice story. Now tell me where you've really been."

Good Quote: "Like farmers, we must learn that we can't sow and reap the same day."


"Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming" (James 5:7 NIV).

Most of us don't like to wait in line at the grocery store, doctor's office, traffic light, restaurant, etc. Restaurants have the audacity to call the attendants "waiters." After all, we're the waiters - we do all the waiting. . . . We are an impatient generation and we want gratification right now. Remember, "patience" is a fruit of the Spirit recorded in Galatians 5:22. To develop Godly patience requires the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. Let's look into the James passage and learn something about patience.

We need patience during hard times. All these to whom James wrote this first century letter were going through tough times -- persecution, suffering, hardships. The Greek word for patience means to wait with long suffering -- never quit even in hard times. When tempted to throw up your hands, stand firm. Stick to it even when everything in you wants to give it up. In a Christian's life, there are times of great emotional joy -- when God seems so close and so real and your joy comes from serving him. At other times, when it appears as if no one else cares about God, or his work, and you feel like the lone ranger, you feel like saying "Oh, what's the use." James says that's when God will give you patience. Like the farmer who puts the seed in the ground and waits patiently for the harvest, that's what God wants us to do -- plant the seed of the good news and be patient as God's Holy Spirit brings forth the harvest in His time. "You too, be patient and stand firm." (James 5:8 NIV).

We need patience when we face disapproval and rejection: "Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take (consider) the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord" (James 5:10 NIV). They persevered and had patience even when they were laughed at, ridiculed, persecuted, and totally ignored. They stood up and spoke God's message whether it was popular or not without concern for themselves. They spoke whether people wanted to hear it or not. They had patience. They waited on God. Some of you may face ridicule and be otherwise mistreated because you know and love Christ. We need to be patient with those who treat us unfairly -- keep on loving them as Jesus loves them. The word for patience I mentioned earlier literally means "to take a long time to get hot." The patient person takes a long time before he/she looses their cool and blows their top. Even with the person at work who is always hateful and mean -- that person in your family -- that kid at school. Be patient and consider that their actions may be driven by deep spiritual needs within them.

We need patience when we face disaster: "You have heard of job's perseverance (endurance, patience) and have seen what the Lord finally brought about" (James 5:11 NIV). Never in history has a man experienced such disaster. In two days, Job lost his family (children killed in storm), lost all his possessions, lost his friends, and had a painful disease. His wife came to him and said: "why don't you curse God and die." God never told job why he was suffering -- why he was having to endure all those hardships. But, even in face of total disaster, he continued steadfast in his faith. He hung in there. He never cursed God and never gave up. He said of God: "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him" (Job 13:15 KJV).

We need patience during those times when God seems like He's a million miles away -- when we don't hear anything or feel anything from him. In Job's case, all the things that were happening to him just didn't make sense. But they made perfect sense to God who was testing Job. Times like these come for all of us. The Greek word for "endure" or "persevere" means to stay steadfast in difficult times. When we are willing to do this, then God will do a mighty work in our lives.

Love, Jerry & Dotse