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Posts Tagged ‘patience’

My computer just ate my original Morning Devotion effort for the day and I don’t have another 45 minutes to spend trying to re-create it just now. That’s why I want to share a Morning Devotion that I wrote nearly 10 years ago, one that appropriately describes the important of persistence when things aren’t going the way we’d like.


We all need the reminder from time to time of the truths contained in 2 Peter 1:5-8.

God is the One who provides the increase.

When the time is right, if we are patient, He will.

I heard of a missionary and his family who served in a place for nine years and saw one baptism. They didn’t give up, though, and more than 100 people were baptized the next year.

I’m reminded of the orange tree.

An orange tree really doesn’t start bearing productively for at least seven to eight years.

What if the tree were cut down at year 5 because it had just a few fruit in season?

All that might have been borne was instead burned because of impatience.

This is what missionaries must remember.

This is what missionary-supporting churches and individuals must remember.

Never forget that God uses changed lives as His tools for changing people.

He never relies on changed methodologies.

Change can be good, yes, but only as it allows changed lives to become more evident.

Want your church to grow? Let the characteristics of 2 Peter 1:5-8 grow within you.

Then people will be drawn to the power of God shining from your life rather than the power of well-intentioned, though imperfect human effort.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget the perseverance part.

As always, I love you
Martin

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If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you know the challenge.

You know that our human nature wants the flame of faith to burn out for lack of fuel, whether by not reading the Bible or by not praying or by not joining other believers in worship and study.

The danger of extinguished faith is SO great, however, that we simply must avoid it at all costs.

That’s why a passage in today’s devotional reading is so important. “Remember, the fire must be kept burning on the altar at all times. It must never go out.” (Leviticus 6:13)

The context of this verse involves the Old Testament temple sacrifices that were to be done in accordance with the worship rituals given Moses by God.

There is great detail in the instructions for how the sacrificial animals were to be prepared and consumed by the priests serving at the temple.

What struck me, though, is that the same requirement was in place for every type of animal sacrificed on the altar.

The fire was to never go out. The altar was ALWAYS to be ready for sacrifice. Because of the Israelites’ sinful nature, there would always be the need for God’s atonement of man’s sin.

Listen, please keep the fire of your faith burning.

Keep loving. Keep listening. Keep learning.

Keep looking into your heart to notice when sin has occurred and the need for forgiveness requires you to lay your offense on the altar of your trust in Christ as Savior.

God’s light of love never burns out for us. Let’s make sure that our light of faith never burns out for Him.

As always, I love you

Martin

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Nobody likes going through hard times.

Losing your job stinks.

Losing a cherished relationship stinks.

Losing a physical capability — even temporarily — stinks.

Gaining a chronic illness stinks.

Gaining an abrasive, morally insensitive co-worker stinks, particularly when his or her desk is adjacent to yours.

The list could go on, of course.

But in each stinky situation there is the opportunity for a sticky lesson.

And that’s why God allows stinky situations to enter our lives.

He has a purpose for the stink because He has a lesson that needs to stick.

It’s not that He hasn’t tried to teach us lessons without the stink.

It’s just that too many times we haven’t listened.

If we always sought Him and His will with every breath, every thought and every action, we wouldn’t need refinement.

But we haven’t.

And so we do.

Need the refinement, that is.

As impure ore needs the fire.

In the midst of pain or frustration — or both — look for the opportunity to trust God more and serve others more.

You just might end up doing some very important things that can impact others’ lives in a marvelous way.

Check out today’s Old Testament section in the reading for the day from the One-Year Bible. You’ll read of how a really stinky experience for a guy named Joseph actually became an incredibly sticky lesson that God used to preserve the promise that the Messiah would eventually come from the line of Abraham.

It’s an amazing story of how a rotten, evil choice of others ultimately led to a redemptive, godly rescue of others.

All because of a faith-based commitment to honoring God even in the midst of horrible circumstances.

None of the parties involved in the story forgot the lessons, I’m sure.

Let’s do our best to look for sticky lessons even in the midst of stinky circumstances.

It’s the godly thing to do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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God is incredibly gracious.

As in gracious far beyond what you and I could imagine.

If anyone ever tells you that they doubt His grace, please sit down with them and discuss Genesis 16-17.

Genesis 16 describes an incredibly foolish and faithless decision by Abram (Abraham before God changed his name) and his wife Sarai (Sarah before God changed her name).

This chapter’s depiction is one that one belongs on one of those family-yelling-at-each-other TV talk shows.

You can read that chapter by clicking here.

It’s pathetic and painful to read.

The chapter reminds us that whenever we become impatient with God’s plan and start thinking we are smarter than Him, we are heading down a dangerous, dark dead-end road.

But then there is chapter 17:1-8 that describes God’s grace in using people who disappointed Him so terribly in the past.

You can read the passage by clicking here.

There is much that you’ll be able to discuss with your friend. It is my prayer that you both will gain a greater appreciation for God’s purpose-minded grace as you do.

We are created with so much potential for service to God’s Kingdom.

Let’s remain vigilant to always make decisions that honor Him, even when blessings aren’t coming our way as quickly as we’d like.

Let’s always remember that God knows what is best and as long as we trust Him and listen to Him, He’ll reveal His blessings in just the right time.

We just might avoid having to wait 13 years for news of the blessing we tried to gain on our own.

As always, I love you
Martin

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If our love for another is contingent upon what they first do for us, then we have a vocabulary problem.

You see, we’re not showing “love” to the person.

Instead, we’re making a deal with the person.

You do for me and then I will do for you.”

This attitude shows love alright, but it is egocentric.

It is a contract.

God calls us to have covenant love.

He wants us to be committed to loving others because it is the right thing to do, regardless of how we are treated.

If the person reciprocates, that’s a wonderful blessing.

But if the person doesn’t reciprocate to the desired extent, we are still blessed by knowing that we are obeying God’s command to love as He loves.

Check out this little bit of love language from today’s reading in the One-Year Bible:

“We love each other because He loved us first.” (I John 4:19)

God loved us before we loved Him.

Amazingly, He loves us even if we don’t love Him.

What He did — and does — for us is what we’re to do for the people in our lives.

Particularly those closest to us.

Yes, some people are sometimes hard to love.

But we are called to show kindness, patience, forgiveness, generosity, acceptance and then keep repeating these things over and over and over again with our spouses, our children, our siblings, our co-workers, our friends, our neighbors and our church members.

Sometimes it’s not easy.

But do you think it’s always easy for God to love us?

Let’s love first.

It’s what God does.

It’s what the godly do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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When I was a kid, we had for a brief time an inflatable punching doll around the house as a fun activity.

You’d punch Bozo in the nose and he would fall over. Immediately, he’d come right back up for more.

Why? Because the perimeter of the base for the 46″ inflatable doll was weighted with sand and gravity would pull the side of the base back down, lifting the head to the upright position. The photo below illustrates the design. If your email program blocks the picture, click here to see it listed on Amazon.com.

So why talk about Bozo this morning?

Consider this verse from Proverbs 24:16….

“The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.”

You and I have tripped spiritually far more than seven times. And we’ve been knocked down more times than we want to remember.

Trusting God for strength and wisdom, though, has helped us get back on our feet.

We might have less money afterwards. Or less physical capacity. Perhaps we have fewer friends.

But as long as we have the solid foundation of faith in Christ, we’ll always have help to get back to a spiritually upright position.

Yes, some in this world will treat us like Bozo the Clown.

But, like him, we’ll always be put back on our feet as long as we hold onto God’s hand.

Here is one of my favorite passages that reinforces our confidence in this promise:

“The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24)
As always, I love you
Martin

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When you were a teen and visited the homes of your friends, you could typically tell right away if the family members there respected each other and treated one another with kindness.

And if you sensed that relationships were not cherished but instead taken for granted, you probably didn’t want to return.

Who wants to stay in a home where people don’t do all they can to protect one another emotionally?

I Corinthians 13 tells us the “love always protects.”

If somebody trashes me in my family — whether biological or workplace or team or church — do I really want to be there?

I encourage you to be the kind of family member God expects you to be — caring, encouraging, protective.

This is what I need to do for others, as well.

Here’s what Paul wrote regarding the importance of this attitude when it comes to building strong congregations:

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” (Ephesians 4:2-3)

We all know of congregations that could accomplish more for the Kingdom in their communities if a greater sense of unity — of humility and protection — permeated every heart in the flock. Perhaps this describes your congregation.

Please, be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Make every effort to be humble, gentle, patient, forgiving and surrendering your opinions/preferences to the greater cause of shared purpose and accessed power from God.

It’s what loving faith families do.

It’s what you and I are to remember the next time the Enemy’s whisper calls us to either turn away from a Christian brother or sister or, even worse, turn against them.

As always, I love you
Martin

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