A few thoughts on the Orlando Tragedy

•June 14, 2016 • 3 Comments

I have taken a quite a bit of time to think and pray through how I want to response to all that has taken place in Orlando.  When I found out, immediately I invited my friends to pray and wept for the travesty of hate and harm inflicted upon another person.  At church, a group of us prayed for those who were hurt and the families of those murdered.  In my heart, I felt a bit of anxiety because I knew that in less than 24 hours voices would fill the airwaves, posts and memes would fill twitter and Facebook and what would be lost in the agenda of opinions is that 49 people were murdered, 53 more were injured and humanity was assaulted.  More than that, I wept because those who bear the image of God were killed and terrorized by another who bore the image of God.

I have friends who immediately filled in all the gaps with the worst of worst scenarios, blaming our culture, our homophobic culture for this act.  I had friends who rushed immediately to the 2nd amendment – one side to call for its restructuring and the other to hold fast.  Memes were put forward, internet studies were posted, bloggers raged, politicians did what they often seem to do, take advantage of tragedy to make a point.  I have Muslim friends who said – “this does not reflect my beliefs” and others friends who said all Muslims are bad.  My Gay friends said that this was because evangelicals hate gay people while most of my friends were stunned and called for prayer.  What is the proper response in such a divided world?

I do not know if it is proper but here is my response.

1)  I will continue to weep with those who weep.  No person deserves to be murdered.  No parent deserves to lose a child.  No child deserves to lose a parent.  No friend deserves to lose a friend.  When sorrow falls faster than bullets fly, weeping is a good response for me.

2)  I will continue to pray.  When a person prays, God actually hears and acts.  I am going to keep praying.

3)  I will continue to try my best to listen.  A lot is being said and not much is being heard.  When a person arrives at a conversation with a conclusion, it most often never becomes a conversation.

4)  I will not try to explain why.  “Why” is beyond my pay grade and anyone who acts as if they have corner on “why” is either really, really smart – like God smart or they are just fooling themselves.  “Why” acts as a thief and it steals from us confidence that God is good, that he loves and that he is powerful.  So, when the world rushes in to explain why, when every news channel offers reasons, when memes abound… I am going to live in the tension of the uncertainty of life and real certainty with God.  Even if I knew “why” and could explain it perfectly, not one parent who lost a child that night would suddenly say – “Ah, now it is okay, it all makes sense now that I know why.”  Why often tramples over the grieving by seeking power to explain pain, that kind of power does not bring healing.

5)  I am going to keep grace and truth intertwined together.  Representing Jesus well requires that grace and truth never be separated and that conversely, they be fully integrated.  Shouting or preaching condemnation to LGBT community, making inflammatory statements about Muslims, assaulting the motives of people who are honest, hard working and also have guns…  This is so easy to do – Summing up wisdom in memes to post on Facebook, posting inflammatory posts that label groups… all easy to do because they separate grace and truth.  Keeping grace and truth together is the much more difficult road because it is costly and quite often misunderstood.  Grace and truth lead to a cross.  Grace and truth lead to the use of power that loves the least, seeks the lost and sacrifices for others. In the end, only when grace and truth remain intertwined, is the power of God for the transformation of all peoples sin infected heart and the broken world in which we live unleashed to do it’s full redemptive work.

6)  I will look for answers in Christ alone.  Jesus used his power to love the poor, bring freedom to the enslaved, heal the sick, lift the burdens of the oppressed and to announce this is the day of grace and hope. I will not look for answers in the political system.  Politics offers no hope for transformation and for curing the sickness that lies within humanity, sin.  Quite often when faith and politics combine, those with the power get to decide the meaning of faith.  This is why the Christian world tolerated slavery for so long and why Native Americans suffered at the hands of Christian manifest destiny.

7)  I will stand firmly but gently. I understand that what I believe has become more and more difficult to accept in our culture.  I will stand firmly but gently against hate.  Pastors who call for more death, more harm and more hate do not represent the Jesus of the Bible.  I stand firm against that hate filled voice.  I also stand firmly and gently for a biblical view of sexuality and marriage.  I do not hate those who disagree but I personally cannot love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and not stand in this place.  If I cannot love God first and fully, then all my neighbor can receive from me is a cheap knock-off kind of love that holds no value for the soul.

8)  I will act.  There is much in this world to do and so many of us pontificate about it but do nothing about it.  Values are lived not recited!  I have something to do and I will act – so if I do not debate you, argue with you or spend a lot of time on your arguments, forgive me please, I am quite busy.

God is the Author of Amazing!

•November 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

fireworks-3There has been an overwhelming amount of tragedy in the world these past few years and in the past few months it feels like it has accelerated.  Elections seem to put a magnifying glass on the smallness of personal power and the ethical and idealogical struggles of those who would be leaders here and around the world.  For the past several weeks, much of Christendom in the USA has used the social media to point out the problems and give warning to the impending calamity that crouches at the doorstep of humanity.  I thought we could all use a simple reminder that with as much going sideways, God is not sleeping or slumbering, he has not forsaken nor forgotten, he will not fail and he has already won!  He is the Author of all kinds of Amazing.

1)  God our Father is AMAZING! – I have some friends who adopt kids.  When a kid is adopted into their family they instantly go from abandoned to loved, without hope to hope filled and surrounded, hungry to fed, from ward of the state to son or daughter.  When I was dead in sin, hopeless and helpless, God the Father, through Jesus Christ adopted me and today I am a child of God, an joint-heir with Christ with full access to my Father.  God our Father is Amazing!

2)  The Holy Spirit is Amazing – The moment I believed, God the Holy Spirit came to live inside of my life and His work is over the top.  He seals my salvation, reminds me of Christ’s work, teaches me, guides me, convicts me, strengthens me, shapes and forms the life of Christ in me, comforts me, empowers my life and I could add about a hundred more.  Say it with me, The Holy Spirit is Amazing!

3)  Jesus Christ is Amazing – Jesus Christ is the name that we will all bow to, the great I Am, the Creator, the Redeemer. He gave up heaven, gave up his life, became sin on my behalf, defeated death, completed and fulfilled the Law, is filled with Grace and Truth, is seated at the right hand of the Father and WILL return to get all who trust in Him.  He will dwell with his people, wipe the tears from our eyes, make all things new and he is the living bread and water.  One more time, Jesus is Amazing!

4)  The Gospel is Amazing – What other message carries with it the label – “It is the power of God”?  The Gospel does.  And even better, it is true because when the Gospel is spoken, the power of God is revealed and present. Moreover, the universal impact of the Gospel, for all peoples, in all languages, in all stations of life, in all ages, in all nations, in all situations, the most powerful, life giving and penetrating reality is the Gospel!  Okay, what we are all thinking, The Gospel is Amazing!

5)  The body of Christ is Amazing – Hospitals, Medicine, education, compassion, justice and much more can be either traced to the church or at the very least, overwhelmingly strengthened by the church.  The uniqueness of this truth is that one of the Churches greatest impacting traits is that the church moved these gifts from the rights if the privileged into the opportunities for the poor.  In addition, the Body of Christ’s impact is more than global, it is personal.  The Body of Christ provides the place where we are transformed, we are discipled, we are loved, we are used by God, we are connected and we are commissioned to a life of purpose and meaning.  You know it’s true, the Body of Christ is Amazing!

6)  The Word of God is Amazing – The Bible is the kind of truth that shows us where our feet are and shows us where they are supposed to go.  The Bible’s unique ability to both reveal our heart, heal our heart, instruct our heart while also renewing and shaping our mind and thinking is incredible.  It is the wisdom of God revealed through and to mankind under the inspiration and power of God the Holy Spirit.  It keeps us from sin, make us wise beyond our capacity and connects us to the heart of God.  The Bible is Amazing!

7)  Prayer is Amazing – Every time I hear someone say to me, “All I can do is pray” my heart soars because I know what prayer does.  Prayer unleashes.  It unleashes the power of God upon the lives and hearts of men.  God interacts directly with mankind when people pray.  He interacts with the person who prays, changing minds and hearts, comforting, pouring his presence into a reality that brings the name Emmanuelle – “God with us” to reality.  Through prayer God interacts with those we pray for, supernaturally and divinely speaking, healing, comforting, guiding and being present with those for whom we pray.  Through prayer, God interacts with the nations, bringing about his purpose globally.  Prayer is Amazing!

8)  God’s Creation is Amazing – And God said… it was good… and evening and morning were the first day.  This is the rhythm of the creation account and in it’s beauty God reveals himself to us.  Through the creation story we gain eight insights into our creator. 1) We gain perspective on what it means to fear God. 2) We gain key instructions about our purpose and relationship with God. 3) We gain several “designer” functions for marriage. 4)  We gain an understanding of the Godhead’s power and relationship. 5)  We gain the ability to grieve sin properly. 6)  We gain a better sense of accountability to God.  7)  We gain an ability to properly love and appreciate people. 8)  We gain our understanding of how to relate to God.   You know it’s true, God’s creation is Amazing!

9)  God’s purpose is Amazing – GK Chesterton said, “A Saint is one who exaggerates what the world neglects.”  God invites us to sainthood, to purpose, to meaning of life simply by paying attention and exaggerating what the world neglects.  The sad/good news is that the world neglects much.  When reading the above amazing list, we discover that by adoption, we become children of God and ambassadors of His kingdom, we are gifted and empowered by the God the Holy Spirit to bring his will there (heaven) down here.  We join Christ in service to the Father, in bringing redemption to the world.  We are given the Gospel to speak and share, the body of Christ in which to serve and build others, the Word of God to transform us into his likeness, the power of prayer to bring the interaction of God to our lives, our family and friends and our world and his creation for us to discover and live within.  There is much purpose for all who believe.  God’s purpose is Amazing!

10) God’s Promises are Amazing – I finished this list with God’s promises, realizing the list can keep going and going, infinity amazing is our God.  But God has also made promises to us and the power of a kept promise is Hope.  Because he promised to be with us always, to give us eternal life, to forgive us completely,  to use our weaknesses as well as our strengths, to save us completely, to make us his very own, to love us forever and to return and take us to heaven… we have hope.  Promises bring hope, hope is fuel for life, His promises are amazing!

There you have it, God is the author of Amazing.  I hope you are encouraged in a difficult time to see how great the love the Father has poured out on us that we would be called children of God.  We discover the love of God by staring at the cross and God not by looking at our circumstances and brokenness. That is all for now… Off we go…

It could be that simple!

•July 11, 2014 • 1 Comment

1

John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus and the announcer of the Christ, is in the Jordan river.  He is baptizing people for repentance when Jesus approaches.  John shouts, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”  Jesus enters the Jordan and stands next to John and the crowd fixes it eyes upon these two men.  What will happen?  Will Jesus take over for John?  Will John and Jesus both start baptizing people?  Will Jesus preach and announce His rule?  Speculation and mystery abound, then as if there was a mistake in the script, Jesus tells John to baptize him.  I can only imagine the conversation that took place.

(Jesus) Baptize me.

(John)  Me?  No you should baptize me.

(Jesus) No, John, baptize me… people are watching.

(John)  Jesus, did you not hear that whole “Lamb of God” thing I said a few minutes ago? You should baptize me.

(Jesus)  John, this is the right thing to do, now baptize me.

(John)  Okay… (said with a heavy sigh)

When Jesus comes out of the water, the Father opens the curtain between the seen and the unseen and the Spirit descends upon Jesus and the Father speaks, “You are my son, I love you and I am pleased with you.”

What a declaration from the Father.  In every way this is a “Wow! Wow! Wow!” moment. How these words must have made Jesus’ day.  How these words must have touched Jesus’ heart and mind.  One thing is for sure, these words shaped everything, wait, let me add some emphasis…  EVERYTHING Jesus did from that point forward.  Let me say it again, WOW!

Here are a few quotes from Jesus as he lived and completed his ministry.

“I only do what I see the Father doing.”

“Me and the Father, we are one.”

“If you have seen me you have seen the Father.”

“I do everything that pleases the Father.”

“Father… not my will but yours be done.”

Everything that Jesus did from this point on was a direct response to the Father’s declaration at his baptism.  Jesus’ words, thoughts, actions, strength, identity and joy came from this declaration. But also we should note that everything else in his life was a challenge to this declaration.  Jesus was immediately lead to the wilderness by the Spirit and there he fasted and when 40 days had gone by he was tempted by Satan.  Watch this now.

Satan says to Jesus – “If you really are the Son of God…”  What?  Did you see that, Satan calls into question the very message the Father gave to Jesus.  “You are my son”  “If you are the Son of God.”  Next, Satan says to Jesus as they stand atop the highest point of the temple, “Throw yourself down, surely he will watch over you and he will not let you stumble and fall.”  This is a direct assault on the words of the Father, “whom I love”.  Satan was challenging the love of the Father.  Does he really love you; see if he takes care of you.  Finally they stood upon the highest mountain and Satan says, “I will give this to you if you will worship me.”  Let me rephrase that; “If you make me the one you please, I will show my pleasure by giving you this treasure.”  This is a direct challenge to the declaration of his Father “in you I find great pleasure” and Satan is tempting Jesus to switch his allegiance from the Father to himself.

What got Jesus in so much trouble was, in a very real way, how he lived out his relationship to his Father.  He thought of him above others, did what he said perfectly, spoke his words completely, revealed him fully, and in the end, fulfilled his will by taking the cross of Calvary.  The accusation against him was, he makes God to be “HIS Father.”  (emphasis added)

 

bump

In the life of Christ we have so much to discover and learn, and one of the lessons we must learn and imitate is how to live as a “child of God”.  In the Bible, the apostle John reminds us that when we receive Christ and believe on his name, we are given the right to be called “Sons of God.”  Later John shows us that one of the great results of being loved by God is to be called children of God.  We discover from the words of the Apostle Paul that we have been given the Spirit of Adoption by which we call God  “Abba, Father.”  In fact, the Bible makes it very clear that by faith, we have been adopted into the family of God and we are indeed his kids.  Once again, Paul wrote for us that we should be “imitators of God… (wait for it) as dearly love children.”  It is as if he is saying, “Just like Jesus did what the Father wanted, we should live this way too.”  I get the picture of a child, watching his father stand a certain way and then standing that way, sit a certain way and sitting that way too, speak with certain phrases and adopting these phrases too.  Why?  Because the child believes his dad is AWESOME!

One of the lessons I am learning is to focus on what it means to be a son, who is loved and in whom his Father finds pleasure.  My life gains stability and strength when I succeed in living as God’s kid and loses strength when I am not successful in remembering my identity. The strength I gain or lose is not my own but rather the strength my Father offers me.  My life holds purpose or loses purpose in the reality of this amazing truth; I am God’s kid.  My heart finds love, my mind is renewed, my purpose is clarified, my strength is energized, my pain finds comfort and I find great joy when I can anchor myself to this truth, I AM GOD’S KID!

I have some really awesome friends who adopt kids and every time I am with them, I am humbled by this act of Christ likeness.  Here’s how the adoption process works:  My friends search for a kid without a family or with a family in great crisis.  They, at their own cost, reach to that kid, make that kid their own, provide for the kid, give the kid a place to grow and thrive, give their new son/daughter a name, food, love, affection, identity, values and so much more.  Adoption gives that kid full rights as a son/daughter. The adopting parents assume financial, spiritual, physical, emotional and social responsibility for their kid.  The kid is not theirs because of his/her own declaration and effort but rather because of the effort and declaration of the parents.  This is how our adoption finds its reality.  We are children of God because of the work of Christ and the declaration of a Father who has all the power to make it so.  This status was not given me because I had strength, wisdom, beauty, prowess but rather when I was rejected, lost, broken and without hope.  I receive this status from a Father who say’s it is true and my only responsibility is to “receive him and to believe on his name” and when I do… I am given the right to become a child of God!  Satan will throw everything he can to destroy and weaken this reality because he trembles when those who have been adopted by God, live in full joy as children of God.

 

Growth Cycles, Firsts and Cheers from Heaven.

•July 9, 2013 • Leave a Comment

When my kids were little we had a series of “firsts” that were met with sounds of cheering and applause.  The first time they rolled over… cheering and applause.  The first time they crawled… cheering and applause.  I remember their first steps while holding on to the edge of the table… cheering and applause.  Their first solo steps with no table, just open arms of mom and dad and cheering voices telling them they could. First words, first sentences, first “I love you too”, first ride on a bike, first time riding solo, first day of school…  cheering and applause.  Their childhood is captured in my heart by a series of memories about their firsts.

Image

In every first that we cheered, there was a pre-season of struggle, cheering, stumbling and frustration.  Watching my kid’s roll over was funny in some ways they would sit there and twist their little bodies, arch their backs and then flail their little legs all while teetering on a big puffy diaper taped to their body.  This activity happened several times a day and then one day; this activity yielded a new vantage point from which to experience and see life.  Pretty soon, rolling over held no difficulty and they were on to crawling.

Image

Crawling started with the wobbly movement to their hands and knees, falling, scooting, and going back to rolling because they had mastered it already and then trying again.  After much cheering and applause, they began to crawl and from the struggle that built strength, came a new way to experience the world in which they lived.  This process repeated itself in speaking, in walking, in riding bikes, tying shoes, potty training and much more.  A time of struggle that built strength, a time of frustration with being so close, a time of making it to the “next” skill level, a time of gaining more skill and strength and a whole new world to explore and see and all along the way, cheering parents.

This cycle of “firsts” is how people grow.  People grow when they struggle forward.  My kids did not fight to stay immobile but rather to be mobile. It was natural for them to grow, to push to see, know, touch, explore and live.  This is how God made kids and it is also how God made us big people too.

We were made to grow, to reach, to try to attain and in doing so, see life differently.  Here is a thought I hope gives you pause to reflect.  Whenever there is struggle there is a need to grow being revealed.  Read that again.  Whenever there is struggle, there is a need to grow being revealed.  When I struggle with my weight, there is a need to grow in my emotions and disciplines.  When I struggle with finances, there is a need to grow in my stewardship.  When I struggle in a relationship there is a need to grow being revealed.

If you are struggling today, it just might be that the God who made you is revealing a need to grow in some part of your life.  Can I encourage you to pray this prayer, God when I struggle will you show me where I need to grow?  From this prayer, keep struggling forward, grow and then enjoy life from the new vantage point.  The guarantee is this:  one struggle will lead to new freedom and eventually another struggle which will lead to a new freedom and then another struggle.  This is what it means to grow.

Do you have a habit that need breaking?  Struggle until you do.  Get the help you need but struggle until you do.  Do you have an attitude that need conquering?  Struggle until you do.  Struggle forward but struggle because when it is broken, you will see life from a totally different vantage point.  Got a dream  you have set on the back burners because of fear or discouragement?  Struggle forward!  Pick up the dream and run, struggle forward because until you do, you cannot grow.

clap

One final thought.  In our home the applause and cheers of mom and dad spurred our kids forward as they struggled to roll, crawl, walk, talk and in many more firsts.  Right now, your heavenly Father is cheering you forward.  He loves to see you struggle forward because he knows you are adding strength for living.  He knows that the strength you build in your struggle will be what you need to view life from a new vantage point and tackle the next struggle.  Hear him now…  Way to Go!  Keep on going, you got this!  I am here for you!  I love you!   Off… we go now.

Welcome to the Dance

•June 25, 2013 • 1 Comment

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Galatians 5:25

Image

Will you join me today in a DANCE LESSON? For today’s class, our first instructor will be a 2 year old, followed by a TV show.

Have you ever watched a toddler when music begins to play?  It seems that without any prompting or lessons that kid will start dancing.  There is something deep inside that just responds to the music and instantly they begin to move. I saw this once and realized I have the dance moves of a toddler?  Sweet!

One show that is very popular with half the people in our house is “So You Think You Can Dance.”  It is a dance contest where thousands of dancers, with a variety of dance styles, try to win a contract to be a professional dancer.  Each week these dancers and their dance partner have to learn a new dance in a new dance style.  They then have to perform that dance before the judges.  The teams that build the best chemistry between the dancers are the ones who seem to be able to handle the weekly assignment best.

Look again at today’s verse. “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” This verse contains a DANCE lesson we all need.  Every day throughout our life a tune is played.  For many the tune is a loud scratchy number about our finances.  Others hear the song of Love Gone Bad and several of us here the driving sound of songs of pain, fear, nervousness, loneliness, worry and stress.  When these songs play, like the toddler we dance.

God’s word says that God’s Spirit lives within every Christ follower.  One of the ways our lives intersect is that HE, God the Holy Spirit, interprets the life’s songs and gives me the dance steps I need.  When life is stressful, God the Holy Spirit says “pray, trust, hold on to Me.”  These are the dance moves I need in order to live out my life.  Letting God provide my “Dance Moves” is what it means to “Live by the Spirit”.

Confession time; I do not always let God the Holy Spirit determine my moves.  Sometimes I let pride.  Sometimes I let fear.  Sometimes I let laziness.  Sometimes I let indifference.  Hence the second Dance Lesson.

Chemistry between partners matters. Here is what chemistry between partners does.  Chemistry is what allows each partner to take their role in the dance.  One should lead and the other follows.  Chemistry with God’s Spirit is what helps me to follow His lead.  Chemistry between partners builds trust.  Sometimes a dance requires a jump or a lift.  Without trust, one partner will not give themselves to the dance.  This is also true with my relationship with God.  If I do not trust, I will not leap, I will not follow, I will not let Him lift me.  In other words I will not “KEEP IN STEP WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.”

So there you have it, today’s dance lesson.  Let God’s Spirit determine the way you move to life’s song, let Him lead and welcome to the dance!.

God is Patient… But Why?

•May 17, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Image

How does God’s patience impact you?  Okay, now stop reading and chew on that question.  How does God’s patience impact you? Answer it in real time, right now thinking. 

God is patient with me in my sin.  I do not love the way I should, I can be quite selfish, I have thinking problems, my affections and passions get all out of order and I am in every way a work in process. 

God is patient with me in my attitude toward him, his plans, others, people that bug me, people that I am supposed to love but can barely stand because he gets that I am a work in progress.

God is patient with me in my small minded thinking, whining about problems that are actually more inconveniences, blaming him for my messes because I could not be content with less, over spent, over ate, over estimated my self and under appreciated all he has done for me.

These last three lists are not answering the question; How does God’s patience impact me?  These lists simply site some of the places where his patience is needed by showing how far I still have to go or that I am still a work in progress. 

God’s patience lets me grow and be transformed in joy rather than fear. God’s patience opens the door to return when I have willfully slowed in the journey to maturity and holiness.  God’s patience keeps me from flinching for every sin, letting confession and repentance become invitations from a Father who loves me rather than commands from a God who cannot tolerate me in failure.  God’s patience accelerates gratitude by fueling trust, fans to flame joy by fostering security and moves me to loving him by filling in gaps with grace that shame once filled.  God’s patience is what gives God’s grace time to teach me about God’s love, heart and plan for my life. 

The more I explore the impact of God’s patience the more I realize why he wants me to be patient.  God wants his patience to be displayed in my life and then through my life.  He wants me to be patient so that others can know his love and grace too.  God wants me to be patient because patience is one way I wrestle down and pin my own self-interest and sense of entitlement that grows in me.  God wants to free me and to do this he transforms my thinking and heart, when I am patient God accelerates the transforming process.    Galatians says I am to use my freedom to actively do good, doing good without patience toward those around me relegates goodness to an activity of the religious rather than an expression of the heart of God.   Patience is what allows waiting to retain it’s hopeful spirit.  That’s enough for today. Off… we go now.

GOT PATIENCE?

•May 16, 2013 • Leave a Comment

ImageHave you ever lost something you needed really badly?  The kind of thing that without which your whole day will be thrown off?  Something so important that, unless you can find it, all your relationships will be impacted, your schedule will be impacted, your character will be impacted and how you navigate your day can and will be adversely impacted.

Keys, cell phone, wallet, purse, watch, calendar…  These all come to mind when thinking of the “don’t lose this or life will get hard” category.  People lose their cars in parking lots, I saw a lady pushing the horn button on her key as she walked up and down rows of cars in a parking garage recently because she could not remember what floor she was on.  But what I am talking about actually has a greater impact on us and the people around us when we lose it.  I am talking about patience.

Let’s all groan together now…  Not Patience, anything but patience.  Let’s face it, for many, for me, patience can be a challenge.  Here are a few thoughts running around in my head.

People do not work on being patient but rather on not being impatient.  What I mean is in general, people do not measure their patience by actual patience but rather the absence of being impatient in a situation or with a person.  We make comments like this;

“I sat through two lights but did not get mad, I was patient.”   Or, “The guy in the drive through got my order wrong two times and I never snapped at him, I showed real patience.”  One more, “Getting my kids out the door today took every ounce of patience I had, but I did it because I did not yell at them.” 

What we are really citing here most often is restraint not patience.  You see, patience can express itself in restraint, but it is so much more.  Patience, as a fruit of the Spirit, is much more about our operating system in all of life, not our restraint when life is not going to our specifications of speed, accuracy or convenience.

To be patient is to be generous with love to those who are still in process.  Patience is about love to others, not restraint of snarkyness.  Patience is about withholding judgment of others and adjusting my heart and life to match others processes.  It is not about smiling at the person behind the counter when my heart is filled with dissatisfaction towards them and then calling my smile and restraint patience.  Patience, in God’s model is about grace filling gaps that we all possess with love and kindness, instruction and encouragement and nearly always at our own cost.

Patience is proactive, not just reactive.  One benefit of rightly handled difficulties is the development of patience.  This development of patience is so important to God and the work he has for us, he actually says to rejoice whenever there is a chance for it to be produced in us.  Patience is how grace stays strong in the life of those who are not yet done growing.  Do you know anyone who is not yet done growing?  Do you know anyone who needs grace?  If the answer is yes we must remember that a part of God’s method for growth and grace is when his people operate in patience.  Heck, that is enough for today, Off… we go now.

 
%d bloggers like this: