You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘patience’ tag.


“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. Matthew 18:15

conflictEach of us have gone through those periods of time when relationships fail. Those relationships that are closest are the most painful to lose. Some translations leave out the phrase “against you”. Others include it. In reality, as followers of Jesus it doesn’t really matter if the wrong is committed against you (most painful) or against others. Either way, the offense is destined to hurt a brother or sister in Christ and others!

So what do we do? It’s easy enough to say we need to pray. Sometimes prayer is a scapegoat and can be better paraphrased as “I don’t want to get personally involved” or “I hate conflict” or “It’s really none of my business, it’s God’s job to do the work.”

There is some truth to each of these excuses. But, the reality is, Jesus never shied away from involving himself in the ugly part of ugly people’s lives. Aren’t we called to do the same?

Here are some suggestions for what may help. I’ll say up front that I’m still working on these in my life and it’s not easy. I have a long way to go! Praise Jesus for grace!

Pray: This is the obvious but be specific. Pray for your wisdom. Pray for the welfare of the one who wronged you or who is in danger of hurting themselves or others. Pray FOR them, not ABOUT them. Remember prayer is a two way conversation with the wisest, most loving being in the universe!

Reflect: This mixes in easily with prayer. As you are praying ask God to reveal anything YOU may have done to bring on this situation. Rather than focus on what the person did, try to ascertain why the person may have acted as he did. Most of the time, actions are a symptom, not the disease.

Ask: This is a tricky one and must be used with the utmost care and wisdom. If you have a close friend you can trust to make sure this goes no further, ask them for insight into the situation. Be careful not to turn this into a gossip session!!

Restore: Restoration demands action! To be done well, restoration is done with love. It can’t be hurried. First attempts often fail. Compassion and patience are the two best tools to use. If at all possible, refrain from step four until steps 1-3 are firmly in place!

Rest: The Psalmist states that during the storm we rest in the arms of almighty God. Remember that once we have done all we can to lovingly, gracefully and compassionately strive for resolution, the Holy Spirit is the ultimate source of healing.

PRAYER: Father God. Right now, I pray for those with whom I am in conflict and those I’m concerned about because they are in danger of destroying themselves or others. Give me wisdom to know what I need to do to begin the healing process. Help me follow you. Amen.

 

Advertisements

“But true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are his. Job 12:13

Jerry rarely missed a service. He was always early and, during the winter months, was more than willing to grab a shovel to clean up the sidewalks and walkways where the plow missed. He was a simple man and I use that as a compliment. Years of drug abuse mixed with mental health issues and a dysfunctional upbringing had taken its toll on Jerry. As a result he lived solely on his disability check. He was a prime example of surviving, but not really living.

One day I Jerry stopped by the church and I realized (quite to my shame) that I’d never really sat and talked with Jerry much. I was new to the church and had gotten taken up in many other things related to the ministry. That day was different. I pulled up a chair and sat down with Jerry to talk, or should I say, listen.

Our conversation turned to the ministry and I asked him, unaware of where it would lead, how he felt about how things were going at the church. That question was like a floodgate that opened to all sorts of ideas Jerry had about how we should ‘grow the worship services’ and ‘build the youth group.’ It didn’t stop there. I found out Jerry had ideas about virtually every aspect of the ministry.

But that wasn’t a surprise. Anyone in ministry knows that everyone has ideas about ‘how to do ministry.’ What caught me off guard is that many (if not all) of Jerry’s ideas were very good! This ‘simple man’ had loads of wisdom that no one chose to listen to.

When I asked him why he didn’t tell people his ideas, he bowed his head and said softly, ‘Aw, they don’t care. None of them listen to me. I’m just an old druggy.’

Jerry was an example of having wisdom but no power to act on his wisdom. Our churches are full of people like that. We tend to look past them because we are too busy fighting fires set by those who have the power but lack the wisdom. Wisdom without power is futility; power without wisdom is tyranny.

Job knew about those people. He knew all too well what it was like to be barraged with people who knew ‘just what to do’ but either plowed ahead recklessly leaving wounded lives in their wake and what it was like to see those people with great wisdom that weren’t listened to because of past poor choices.

What a blessing to realize our God had both the wisdom and the power to make things happen in our lives. When people fail you, remember that God has everything you need to succeed.

PRAYER: Father God, thank you that you have the power and the wisdom to help me make a difference. Give me courage to speak when I know your way and a listening ear for those who may not have the power but have wise words for me. Amen.



Other seeds fell on thin, rocky ground and quickly started growing because the soil wasn’t very deep. Matthew 13:5

A friend of mobstacles belowine was relating how he managed to shut down a sizable portion of the electricity in his neighborhood. He told how he was working on a yard project his wife had been asking him to complete for a long time. (Most of us men will be able to relate to that).

One of the last things he had to do was to plant a tree in the corner of the yard. As he tells the story, he completely ignored the sign in the corner of his yard warning that there were cables underneath the soil and no digging should happen without calling diggers hotline.

“I wasn’t going to be digging that deep, so I didn’t think that sign applied to me,” He smiled, “But on the fourth or fifth prod with the shovel I felt something solid. Thinking it was yet another rock I slammed the point of the shovel deep and pried up. It was getting late, I was getting tired. I wanted to be done and I was tired of rock! That’s when the spark happened.”

Within minutes his wife yelled out the window that they had no power. Further investigation revealed that nearly half of the houses in the subdivision were also lacking power. Needless to say, my friend learned a valuable lesson about digging. Always know what’s below. Always.

The same can be said in our spiritual lives I think. The ‘Parable of the Sower and the Seed’ tells of seed that is thrown on rocky ground. The seed sprouts and grows quickly, like the rest of the seed. However, when the sun came out and the wind blew the roots were not able to stand firm and the plant withered.

For years I’ve heard sermons on the negative aspect of the rocky ground. Sermons that spoke of not letting emotion get in the way of growth. Sermons about how vital it is to get ‘rid of the rocks’ in our lives so that we can grow our roots deep. All these sermons had important lessons for us to learn. However, maybe the story has a different twist for us as well.

Any good farmer knows the importance of working the soil before planting; of knowing what lay below the surface so that when you plant you know what you are up against. Understanding and preparing the soil is just as important as planting the seed.

I see the rocks of the story as those things in people’s lives that keep us from really turning over everything to God. It could be an abusive childhood. It could be the struggle of divorce or an unhappy marriage. It could be the realization, in later years, that the dreams of our childhood will never be realized.

Those of us on the surface can look with disdain on those intent on focusing on the emotional and not the deeper things of the spiritual life, or we can take the time to help those struggling with ‘rocky soil’ to withstand the penetrating and painful rays of the sun and destructive winds of life’s pain.

Perhaps the focus in the emotional and the surface things of life are all they can handle for the moment until they are able to remove some of those rocks hidden from view.

That’s what grace is about. Grace is about realizing that everyone we meet has some hidden burdens. It’s about patiently helping to remove the rocks before we can expect roots to grow deeper. Before you dig into someone’s life, know what’s below.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I lift up to you those I know who may be struggling with things below the surface I never realized existed. I ask that I might have the insight and patience to help clear the rocks before being concerned about deeper roots. In your name, Amen.


Your Majesty, look at what I’m holding. You can see that it’s a piece of your robe. If I could cut off a piece of your robe, I could have killed you. But I let you live, and that should prove I’m not trying to harm you or to rebel. I haven’t done anything to you, and yet you keep trying to ambush and kill me. 1 Samuel 24:11 (CEV)

“You deserve this,” David thought as he watched Saul enter the cave where he was hiding with his small group of men.

It had to have been fate. Saul had been trying to kill David for years. Although David had been anointed King by the prophet there was no indication that the throne would be his anytime soon.

Creeping through the shadows, knife in hand, he moved closer to Saul who was preoccupied with relieving himself in what he thought was an empty cave. One slash with the knife and the kingdom was his; the kingdom that was rightfully his in the first place.

Great story, huh? Trouble is, that’s not what happened. No one would have blamed David for taking Saul out that day in the cave. He was an arrogant, angry, deranged man.

Did David have a right to kill Saul that day? Yes.

Did he have the opportunity to kill Saul? Certainly.

Did he have the power to kill Saul and execute revenge upon him? Definitely.

David’s action that day in the cave was not only an act of mercy, it showed meekness on David’s part. Meekness isn’t the same as weakness, in fact meekness is just the opposite. Meekness is power under control. David chose to act with integrity and set aside his rights in order to wait for God’s timing to get the kingdom promised him.

Our culture has taught us that success comes from being the strongest; from standing up for your rights; from being the best at all costs. But Jesus says “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”

Meekness isn’t something that comes naturally. It’s part of our human nature to want to be on top, to succeed, to receive the accolades, the relationships and the status (power) to overcome.

There are many other examples of people in the Bible who chose not to use their power and rights to overcome those who were against them. His name was Jesus Christ. As God in the flesh, Jesus was misunderstood, mistreated, mocked and eventually killed. He had every right to put a stop to the way he was treated, but he didn’t because in order to give you life he had to renounce his own rights.

Setting aside your rights for others isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of Christ-likeness.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus it’s so easy to get caught up in the desire to be right, to take what is mine, to demand my own way. Especially when I’m pretty sure I’m right. Give me wisdom and strength to be strong enough to be meek. In your name I pray, Amen.


Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 1 Chronicles 17:16 (NLT)

It had been a long trip. Over 40 years since that day when the young shepherd boy had been called from the fields to meet the prophet. He still got goose-bumps, after all these years, as he remembered returning to the field and having the prophets words sink in. He would be king of Israel. He! David son of Jesse!

He remembered the adrenaline that flowed through him as the giant fell at his feet. He could still hear the cheers of the army behind him, the slaps on the back from his brothers and the other soldiers who’d been cowering in faithless fear.

Then there was the complicated situation with his very best friend in the whole world, Jonathan. The adventures those two shared together were amazing, yet bittersweet as David’s relationship with Jonathan’s father, Saul, grew increasingly volatile. A knot formed in his throat as he remembered when he heard the news that Jonathan had been killed in battle.

Now, he sat in his palace. His position as King solidified. His nation was at peace. His family content. The most important symbol of his God, the Ark of the Covenant, secure in a tent within the city. Life was good. Very good. In spite of all the adversity, pain and frustration, David could look back and say “I’ve made it. I accomplished everything I could ever have imagined and more.”

That’s when it hit him. Maybe you’ve had the feeling, maybe not. That feeling that says, “I’m so blessed, and I’m so unworthy.” Maybe you look back at years of addictive behavior and realize you haven’t had an urge in years. Maybe years in an abusive relationship have brought you into a relationship where you finally feel secure, loved, valued. Maybe you’ve worked hard your entire life and have seen career goals come and go, and now you can relax as a result of your labors.

When David got to that point in life he realized two things. One is that he was totally unworthy of all the blessings he was enjoying. The other thing he realized is that it was only because of his God that he was able to endure the trials of life

On the other hand, maybe you are still waiting to be sitting in your palace; still waiting to have that feeling of success, safety, value, appreciation. Life is hard. One crisis follows another. Hope is nothing more than a four-letter word reserved for the haves, and you’ve long ago realized you are a have-not.

David would tell you, if he were here, to keep on. Keep on trusting God for the little things and the big things. Keep on trusting God when you fail because he’s promised to forgive you. Keep on enduring the attacks because they just make you stronger. Keep on, and never forget that it’s God that will see you through.

PRAYER: Father God. I don’t have a palace. I’m not the ruler of some empire. I’m not famous. Yet, when I look at where I am today and where I deserve to be I can only say Thank You. Thank you for bringing me this far. Amen.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,988 other followers

RSS Podcasts from Zion

  • The Restoration of the Son
    From our series, "Christ in the Psalms." God will bring you — body and soul — through life and death to full and everlasting pleasure, if he is your safest refuge, and your supreme treasure, and your sovereign Lord, and your trusted counselor.
  • The Son as Chief Cornerstone
    From our series, "Christ in the Psalms". We must not only accept Jesus foundationally (cornerstone) but must make him lord over our life (capstone).
  • The Divinity of the Son
    From our series, "Christ in the Psalms". God has shown himself through Jesus so we can experience joy!
  • The Exaltation of the Son
    From our series, "Christ in the Psalms: The forgiveness our High Priest Jesus grants us allows us the power to persevere.
  • The Suffering of the Son
    From our series, "Christ in the Psalms". Jesus suffered more than any man so that we could enjoy forgiveness now and life everlasting.

LinkedIn

Candle Lighter Award

Built With Grace

Twitter Updates

Archives

October 2017
S M T W T F S
« Sep    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  
Follow Built with Grace on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: