Thursday, May 23, 2013

Why Should We Be Patient? Part 2

Chuckle:  "Be patient when a person growls at you; he may be living with a bear!"  
Quote:  "Patience and diligence, like faith remove mountains."  --William Penn 
    "Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near"  (James 5:7-8 NIV).
Last time, we saw that we should be patient because: (1) We know Jesus is coming back; (2) Patience is rewarded; and (3) God is working out His plans for our lives until Jesus returns.  So, what should we be doing while we patiently wait for Christ's return?  Here are a few thoughts.
    1. Wait with expectation: After planting, a farmer waits patiently and expectantly looks forward to the harvest.  He understands that he cannot hurry the process along; but while he waits, he plows a field getting it ready for next year.  He cleans out his barns so they will be ready for the harvest.  He believes God is going to give him a harvest. 
When we wait on God, we don't sit and do nothing, but are actively working to strengthen our marriages, to make our homes more godly places, to see our family and friends come to Christ.  We should be busy in God's kingdom while we trust and wait upon Him.  Psalm 135 says, "I wait expectantly, trusting God to help, for He has promised."  Jesus said: "According to your faith, may it be unto you"  (Matthew 9:29 NIV).  Trust Him expectantly.

    2. Wait with quietness: James warns: "Don't grumble about each other, my brothers and sisters, or God will judge you. For look! The great judge is coming. He is standing at the door" (James 5:9 NLT).  We have so much and appreciate it so little.  I think we have become a nation of grumblers and complainers.  Don't blame God or everyone else for problems in your life, but accept responsibility for your own actions, and as you wait quietly, trust in our Lord.

    3. Wait with confidence: Job had confidence in God, not matter what.  The Omnipotent God knew what He was doing in Job's life.  Jesus had confidence that His Father would raise Him from the dead.  We can have a quiet confidence that comes from a daily walk with our Lord.  The Bible says "patience" is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22).  Allow Him to teach you how to be patient.  We know with certainty and confidence that Jesus will return when the time is right.  However, it is His desire that all people hear the gospel prior to his return.  He doesn't want anyone to miss an opportunity to know Him and welcome His return.

Love, Jerry & Dotse

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why Should We Be Patient

Chuckle:  A cop to a speeder: "Warning! You want a warning? O.K., I'm warning you not to do that again or I'll give you another ticket."
Quote:  "Patience may be defined as that quality of life which makes suffering creative; and impatience as that whereby suffering becomes a destructive force." --Robert Llewelyn
WHY SHOULD WE BE PATIENT?                
   "Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. . . You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near" (James 5:7a-8 NIV).

    We should be patient because Jesus is coming back.  I have a news flash for you today!  The same Jesus who walked in Galilee, who healed the sick and raised the dead, who died on the cross for our sins, and who miraculously arose from the dead on the third day is coming back.  That same Jesus is coming again.  What better reason could we have to stand firm and be patient.  Shout  Halleluiah if you wish!!!

That's why we can get excited about waiting -- about standing firm -- about being patient -- about persevering.  When Jesus ascended into heaven the angel of the Lord said: "Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up into the sky. This same Jesus who has been taken from you into heaven will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11 NIV).  He's going to make things right and show us the eternal truths of His kingdom.  That's why we can have patience -- that's why we can wait.  Things here on earth seem out of our control but our Heavenly Father is in control.  He will send His Son back to earth at His appointed time.

    We should be patient because patience is rewarded. "As you know, we consider blessed those that have endured (been patient, persevered)"  (James 5:11 NIV).  Job was ultimately blessed because he had patience as were the prophets.  Our patience will cause us to grow strong -- it will cause us grow in wisdom -- and to be a tower of strength in God's kingdom and in his church.  Jesus said: "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven" (Matthew 5:11-12 NIV).

    We should be patient because God is working out His plans. "You have heard of job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy" (James 5:11 NIV).  God was at work in Job's situation and He is at work in yours.  Trust Him.  When you pray remember, delay is not denial.  There's a difference in God saying "no" and "not yet."  Learn to wait when you feel ready for something to happen but God isn't. . .  What should you do while you patiently wait?  Next time we'll address that question.

Love, Jerry & Dotse                

Friday, May 3, 2013

Change Happens

Chuckle:  You don't need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice!!

    "This is the temple of the Lord . . . If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, . . then I will let you live . . . in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever" (Jeremiah 7:5-7 NIV).

The following is by Rev. Beth Kennett -- A good read.


     "It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad."  --C. S. Lewis

Change is going on all around us, including us and in us! Change is necessary! If change does not happen, things go bad (rotten, defunct, awry, etc.). To follow with the thought from C. S. Lewis, the best-case scenario for an egg that doesn't hatch is to be eaten, to be devoured. When we think of ourselves and change, we do not want to be eaten, devoured, nor do we want to rot or become defunct. We definitely want to stretch wings and learn to fly.

There is a song that we often sing at our church, "Enter, Rejoice and Come In." One of the verses repeats the sentence, "Don't be afraid of some change." When my oldest daughter was rather young, about 3 years old, she came home from church after singing this song and asked, "Why would people be afraid of change?" I thought what a profound and deep thought 3 year old I have, only to realize that she thought the song was about coins/money. (Well, that is a thought for another blog!)

The question is appropriate, Why are people afraid of change? We can expand the question to, why are people afraid of change, even when it is good change?

When there is change, we do not always know the outcome. Even when the desired outcome is known, we do not know what will take place in our process to get there. We are afraid to do things differently. We are afraid to learn to do things differently. We are afraid that how we relate will be different and might not be as good. We are afraid that we will not like the outcome.

Change never affects only one person; when I change those around me experience change as well. The idea and fear that is wrapped up in change is compounded when a group or a system begins to change. Each person within the system carries her/his own anxiety and a corporate anxiety.

Currently, every faith community in America is experiencing change. Most are feeling a decline in members and resources. In the midst of this change, there is often an unwillingness to do anything different. If we keep doing what we have always done, things will be ok; they always were before.

The definition of change is to become or make different, pass from one state to another, substitute or replace something. Change is happening, is going to happen and needs to happen. We can stretch a bit, express our fears and concerns and discuss our desired outcomes and our wings will develop and we will be able to fly. Or, we can resist and experience that eggs cannot fly and we will rot or be devoured.

Change is happening. We can approach it with a positive and curious excitement, with a willingness to explore the possibilities and adapt in new ways; and through the process our wings will stretch and develop giving us the ability to soar.

Love, Jerry & Dotse

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Confidence in the Future

Chuckle:  "When an egotist gets up in the morning and puts his pants on, he thinks the whole world is dressed!"

Good Quote:  "If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future."  --Winston Churchill 


    "And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again" (Philippians 1:6 NLT).

Here, Paul expresses his confidence about the future.  Paul drew the conclusion that God was at work in the Philippian Christians and that he would complete his work.  God's faithfulness made him certain.  Paul's love for them made him confident.  And the Philippian Christian's faithfulness made it sure.  This passage does not mean their salvation was incomplete, but that God would continue to work in their lives to make them the kind of Christians he wanted them to be -- to make them more like Jesus.
    We are God's work in in progress:  Paul knew that God loves finished works, and that  God's plans do not fail.  The Greek word translated "being confident/sure" denotes personal certainty.  The "good work" refers to the "partnership in the gospel" mentioned in verse 5.  God's work in them was not yet complete.  He would continue it until it was fulfilled according to his eternal plan and will.  God's faithfulness guarantees the completion of what he begins.  The same is true as God works in your life and mine.     
    The Day when Christ comes back suggests a day of victory and of trial when every Christian's work/deeds will be tested.  It will be a time of victory, celebration, and reward for the faithful Christian, and a time of disappointment and shame for the Christian who has not been faithful to his/her Lord in this life.  Also, the completion of his good work of grace, which will consummate our eternal salvation, will occur in the day Jesus returns in victory.  After that, every Christian will stand before the Judgment seat of Christ, where his works will be judged (2 Cor. 5:10).
    "In the choir of life, it's easy to fake the words -- but someday each of us will have to sing solo before God." 

Paul expresses a personal confidence in the faithfulness in his Lord this way: ". . . I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day" (2 Timothy 1:12 NIV).    The present evil age will come to an end with the second coming of Christ, the Day of the Lord. 

Love, Jerry & Dotse